How to block annoying spam calls in South Africa

While South Africans are collectively bombarded by tens of thousands of spam calls daily – there is a way to block these types of cold calls.

The Direct Marketing Association of South Africa provides a platform through which you can add yourself to the National Opt-out Database – a list of no-go contacts.

The database helps to ensure your address, email address, telephone and cell number are no longer available to marketing related companies.

Registration on the database however, does require a lot of sensitive details, including a South African ID number and a valid email address or phone number.

An additional snag in the system is that it is limited to organisations which are part of the DMA – which may not be all those companies who cold call you.

All companies registered with the DMA are required to check their marketing lists against the database.

According to a report by MoneyWeb, marketers get your details from a number of sources, with very little regulation or control over such ‘information trading’.

Moneyweb’s report states that the direct marketing industry directly employs around 150,000 who make on average 1,600 calls a month.

Global number identifier and spam prevention app, Truecaller noted in late 2015 that its community has reported over 800,000 spam calls in South Africa – with as many as 50,000 spam calls daily.

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI Act) is a law in South Africa which holds companies responsible for the manner in which they attain and deal with information. However, the fledgling law remains largely unregulated in the country.

Private information is traded through various means – from opt-in transactions from financial institutions (where you agree to third-party marketing in exchange for rewards programmes), to instances where former managers or employees sell off data they have on a physical flash drive once they leave their companies.

An office of the Information Regulator has been established to enforce the POPI Act, and to deal with companies trading in your personal information. Companies have a 24 month “grace period” to fall in-line with the new laws.

However, short of dealing with each individual call – the National Opt-out Database currently provides the most effective way of dealing with spam calls on a larger scale.

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How to block annoying spam calls in South Africa