This time it is the UK Border Agency & Capita
According to reports in the UK’s Daily Mail here, the UK government has received major complaints about texts being sent to suspected UK illegal immigrants. The publication claims that outsourcing company, Capita, dispatched nearly 40,000 texts to suspected visa over-stayers as part of a Home Office campaign. These tactics follow the controversial use of poster vans in areas of London popular with Asians as part of a ‘Text HOME’ campaign. (See our previous story here).
The SMS message sent out by Capita apparently read, “‘Message from the Home Office. Our records show that you may not have leave to remain in the UK. Please contact us on 0844 3754636 to discuss your case.”
The newspaper reports that as many as 100 people complained as a result of the text campaign, which GoMo News would suggest is actually quite an alarmingly high number.
When the original poster van campaign ran, GoMo News responded to the 78070 short message number operated by BCH Digital.
As we suspected, the campaign was targetted at illegals from the Indian subcontinent given that the SMS replies offered voice calls in Punjabi and Urdu.
GoMo News was still receiving calls three weeks later from call centre agents claiming to be working for the UK’s Home office although no phone number was provided. The source was listed simply as ‘Unknown’.
Curiously it seems that Capita has a long history of involvement with the UK’s cellular industry.
Capita and O2 recently celebrated 21 years of strong relationships. Capita Customer Management was then Ventura and O2 traded as BT Cellnet.
21 years ago the pair signed a contract to help support the launch of Cellnet. Of course, in those days SMS text didn’t exist.
Actually it took a considerable number of years for all the UK mobile network operators to offer cross-network texting with Vodafone in particular being against such a move.
So, in order to send cross net SMS messages, GoMo News had to log onto the Internet and use a South African based cellular provider.
Not a lot of people remember that.