For days now, a WhatsApp message is being shared indicating that if you find a lost Cameroonian ID card, you simply have to send the number of that card to “8758” via SMS.
According to the message, you will get back a message with at least one phone number thanks to which you can reach the owner of the lost ID card. The only condition for this to work is that the sender should be an MTN subscriber.
To check this assumption, Stopblablacam sent an SMS to the above-mentioned number on February 14, 2019. Here is the message we received: “this SMS costs 0 CFA. Happy youth celebration. 100% bonus on your monthly YaMo internet bundles. Call *220%”.
This SMS was full of spelling errors but, we received no number to help us reach the owner of the ID Card we used for the test. This is a red flag which indicates that it could be a scam since MTN says that it does not recognize the number.
“We do not have such service. Data is personal and even to have a number’s call log, a requisition is needed. Most of the scammers’ messages are sent from numbers that are similar to MTN shortcodes as if the messages were sent by the operator. In addition, MTN communicates all the shortcodes for its offer and services,” our MTN source informs.
But, what the source did not tell us is that “8758” is not that unknown by MTN. Indeed, this is the number used to check whether a number has been registered. For that purpose, you just have to send “STATUT” via SMS, as mentioned on MTN’s Facebook page on September 29, 2018.
It cost nothing to send the said message. The shortcode is also mentioned in the registration checking guide of Cameroon’s telecommunications regulatory agency. It seems that this shortcode has been deactivated because we are now unable to send messages to this number.