The Indian Consumer has always focused on three major investment havens: Stock Market, Real Estate and Gold. The Indian General Elections 2014 has given a much needed fillip to the Indian Stock Market. It is also a known phenomenon that the Real Estate sentiment turns positive on the back of the Stock Market euphoria.
A roller-coaster is on the cards for the infrastructure sector and Real Estate in particular, believe many gurus. Spammers have smelt this opportunity and have begun speculating using the SMS platform. Moving from circle to circle and hopping from one service provider to the next, they have already created an artificial real estate euphoria. Home buyers are promised with big returns especially if they are the early birds. Fine tuning their psychological game for Aspirants, spammers have hyped up property advertisements claiming availability 'at throw away prices' in localities close to ‘happening’ landmark sites.
As of now, large spam campaigns have been making the rounds to woo consumers towards places like the outskirts of Noida and Faridabad in Utter Pradesh, Bhivandi and Andheri in Maharashtra, where property has gained much significance in recent times. We expect this spamming behaviour to exploit the outskirts of other upcoming Cities too.
Here is a typical spam type where spammers try to draw your attention to the accommodation type and the area of interest, with an emphasis on the budget:
Hurry Coming Soon SAI VILLAGE near sec-104 Noida. 1,2&3 bhk appt with 80% bank loan. Appts startng @ 18 lacs(clp). Rates aplicble for 1st 50 flats. Call:[mobile number removed]
The main intention of the spammers is not just to build curiosity but to exploit the opportunity by forcing you to ‘ACT’. The call to action here is to make you ‘Call Back’ on the number given in the message. Also note the obfuscation in the message. This is one of the techniques used to evade filters.
Upcoming regions with real estate resources are first picked. Mapping is then done keeping the Aspirants in mind: a region is chosen according to the probable financial capability and consumer apatite. Next the launch time of such attacks are well planned. Such messages are pushed first in the morning hours, around 9:30 am. The second push take place around afternoon and the third follows around 5:30 pm. These three time slots are carefully chosen where people normally come together to socialize with friends, colleagues and family. This then becomes a subject of discussion where others too are influenced in this proposition. As in the case of the messages given below where the spammers is campaigning for 3/4 BHK luxurious flats in the region of Gurgaon as against 2/3 BHK semi luxurious flats in the region of Bhiwandi (BHK being “Bedroom / Hall / Kitchen”).
Ansal Launching 3/4BHK Ultra-LUXURIOUS Apt, GURGAON Include-VRV-AC,Mod Kitchen,Car Park.Most Attractive-Price.EASY Pay-Plan.Max Ing-Disc.cal [mobile number removed] 1/2/3BHK Apts in-Bhiwadi @ 12.51Lac*. 90A, Approved. Direct NH-8 & Near to Airport. 20m drive from Gurgaon, Bkng Amt. Rs.2Lac Only. RainBow: [mobile number removed]
Further, if the consumer dreams of having a bungalow with a courtyard, well there are plots to cater to this elite bourgeois genre too.
DTCP APPROVED PLOTS @ MADHURANTHAGAM Near to DSP, SUB COLLECTOR Office.Gated community with all amenities, ON GST ROAD. CONTACT:[mobile number removed] govt. approvd society plots on yamuna x-way. startng from 8.5lak -no other chrges limitd forms availble frm (Rs 500) reg. fee 51,000.PH[mobile number removed]
To make this trend clear here is a pan India graphical representation of the real estate focused spam.
Figure 1.1: Depicts regions in India where real estate is being promoted through SMS spam
Spammers have their focus on places around the outskirts of Mumbai like Andheri, Bhiwandi, Ghatkopar, Mulund, and the neighbourhood of Delhi: NCR, Faridabad, Noida, upcoming areas near Yamuna, Gurgaon, Mathura, Lucknow, Dwarka and the expressways connecting these places, the concentration seems to increase as you go further North towards the outskirts of Chandigarh and Ludhiana.
Here are some more spamming tactics adopted by spammers to evade being detected:
• The use of special characters, numbers and spaces in the middle, beginning or end of a word in a message:
S*I*R Office/Shops in Middle of Noida in 14Lacs only Opportunity comes once for profit PHO[mobile number removed]/
• At times words are deliberately misspelt or combined to evade filters:
VIRTUALandTOLLFREEno -To Manage UR BUSINESS CALL With -Live Cal TrackingRecording -LeadDatamanagement CRM24x7Call Attendant-Start Rs899O ph0[mobile number removed]
• Even languages are exploited where words are either typed in Hindi or the local language or Hindi or local language words are spelt in English itself:
Apke $apno Ka Ghar GURGA0N Mein 2 BHK,1250sqft@4800Psqft In Sec-68 Golf Course Extn Rd Few Flats Left [mobile number removed]
Along with such tactics, spammers also launch spam campaigns targeting consumers from other service providers and messaging channels.
As we relentlessly pursue blocking spam and tracking Spammers’ behavioural patterns and nefarious tactics, we would like to caution you from getting carried away by such offers. We at AdaptiveMobile anticipate large Realty focused SMS spam campaigns to gain momentum as the festival season progresses.