HUBTEL, one of Ghana’s prime and leading Fintechs and mobile value-added service (VAS) providers, has denied owning and using any short codes to loot people’s airtime.
This comes after a Customer Service staff of MTN Ghana, told a customer that one short codes sending unsolicited messages for paid services to customers, 1120, belonged to Hubtel.
The customer, Abraham Kwabena Asamoah had called the Customer Service line of MTN, 100 and reported repeated prompts he received from MTN’s 175 asking him to approve a request he made on 1120 for a service called TASTY MEALZ.
In a recorded conversation between Abraham and the MTN Customer Service staff, the latter said the short code belongs to Hubtel, and that Hubtel may have some adverts/weblinks online, which the customer may have clicked on and requested for the TASTY MEALZ service without knowing.
Following the Customer Service staff’s claim, Techgh24, which has been leading a campaign dubbed #StopTheAirtimeLoot, contacted Hubtel and the company flatly denied owning short code 1120.
According to them, this is not the first time a telco has made such false claims about a short code being used for the wrong reasons. In a previous incident, Vodafone Ghana also reported to National Communications Authority (NCA) that a similar short code belongs to Hubtel, meanwhile that was not the case.
So Hubtel has provided all of its official paid service short codes to Techgh24 to publish so the public would be in the know, and not allow themselves to be misled by telcos.
The following is a full list of paid service short codes owned by Hubtel:
Any paid service short code outside of this one does not belong to Hubtel.
The company also admitted that they do sign on customers via online/weblinks but that goes through strict auditing, which include a one-time password (OTP) to the customer to verify his request before the request is even forwarded to the telco for another two-step verification before sign on.
“Our processes are very strict and we have never had any problems with clients or even any of the telcos regarding how we acquire VAS customers,” the company said.
Techgh24 believes NCA must scrutinize all the online channels via which telcos and their VAS providers sign on customers, to ensure there is transparency as the law requires.
NCA must also enjoin all telcos and VAS providers to publish all of their short codes so that the public will be informed and know who is behind every short code.