Fraud Alert: USMS-GH (Jacked My 10 Cedis)

Fraud Alert: USMS-GH (Jacked My 10 Cedis)

SMS is a tool that I use to market on behalf of GHfind.  The online service I’ve been utilizing over the past few years to do so has been recently experiencing persistent technical issues.  So I began searching for a new third-party SMS provider.

I had a similar issue some years ago.  So I know from experience that searching for a bulk SMS service in Ghana can be a time-consuming and frustrating endeavor.

For instance, I once registered on a site called BulkSMS Ghana and paid GH¢10.00 (10 Ghana Cedis) to begin messaging.  But my account was never credited that money, nor was it was refunded, even though I sent various complaints to the company.

Last week, I saw BulkSMS Ghana is now getting rave reviews on Google.  But as for me personally, I’m reluctant to try to do business with them again.

The same exact thing happened to me last week with a newer entity called USMS-GH.  Once again, I only deposited GH¢10.00, which isn’t a lot of money.  But it’s more the feeling of being violated or scammed that ticks me off.  And when I feel offended like that, I write.

WARNING SIGNS OF A SCAM

In all honesty, I saw signs that USMS-GH may be flaky even before I sent the dough.  For instance, with most SMS providers, you have to successfully complete the registration process prior to being offered the opportunity to buy credit.  With USMS-GH, on the third registration screen, right after you submit your contact information, you’re prompted to “Select Billing Plan”:

Then, immediately after doing so, the user is taken to the “Paystack Checkout” page, i.e. the gateway to make a payment

Since, by the looks of things, the registration can’t be completed unless you purchase credit, I did make a payment.  Again, I knew that everything may not be copacetic.  But I was desperate at the time and willing to gamble

Upon entering my phone number onto the “Paystack Checkout” page, I received a prompt, directly on my phone, to transfer the funds via mobile money.  I did so but never received direct confirmation of payment from Paystack or USMS-GH.  However, I do have the mobile money receipt to show for it.

And it would appear that the transaction was successfully registered.  Even though there was no actual notification on the website, when I refreshed the Paystack page, it diplayed a message implying that “the transaction was already completed”:

But afterwards, upon logging onto the USMS-GH dashboard, my account was not credited.  This was six days ago, on May 9th.  Yet to now, the payment still hasn’t been acknowledged:

POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

Since Paystack, to my understanding, is a platform that’s supposed to effect payments as soon as they are made, when I saw that my account wasn’t credited, I instantly became alarmed.  So later that same day I reached out to USMS-GH via a couple of the contacts provided on their site.

First was Facebook.  Recently, I had an issue with the ECG PowerApp whereas I made a payment that didn’t reflect.  Eventually, I reached out to the ECG on Facebook, and they resolved the matter within minutes.  So I was hoping that USMS-GH would do the same.  Again, that was six days, but I still have yet to receive any response.  In fact, it looks like they didn’t even bother to read the message:

Last Thursday, I also reached out to USMS-GH via Whatsapp.  That message has likewise been delivered but not yet opened.

CONCLUSION

So apparently, I have to take that GH¢10.00 I deposited in hopes of becoming a USMS-GH user as a loss.  But at least I was able to get a blog post out of the experience.

Whoever stole that money, whether it be Paystack or USMS-GH, it’s not like those 10 cedis are going to change their life.  These days, you can’t even get a plate of food in Ghana for that amount.  But if they are able to do that to enough people, then those funds do add up.  So all things considered, as it currently stands I wouldn’t recommend sending any amount to USMS-GH that you’re not willing to possibly lose for nothing.

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