How To Stop Spam Text Messages
Published: Apr 19, 2019
Everyone with a phone knows how annoying it is to receive spam text messages. No one likes them, no one wants to receive them, but they keep on coming. Spam messages are the mobile equivalent of junk email, except your phone can’t filter them as such.
Granted, certain text messages may come from a legitimate subscribed source running SMS marketing campaigns. However, that’s not always the case. Spam text is often unsolicited, sent by people you did not provide your number. Most of the time, they randomly choose your phone number along with hundreds of other numbers.
Spam messages serve multiple purposes for the people sending them—most of them are fraud-related. Oftentimes, unidentified senders deliver mass texts in hopes of obtaining your personal information to scam you. They usually contain email addresses or phone numbers to prompt you to respond but never match the identity of the sender. And we totally understand that receiving unwanted messages gets tiring pretty quickly.
It’s only logical to wonder if there’s a way to block them. While you can stop receiving texts from real companies you subscribed to, it’s quite difficult to do the same with spam. There is no easy way of getting rid of them; however, you can take extra measures to stop them.
Reporting Spam Text Messages
Most people are so used to getting fake text messages that they simply choose to ignore their existence. But, what most people don’t realize is that these text messages pose multiple threats. These can be anything from unwanted charges on your cell phone bill to potential viruses that affect phone performance.
Spam text messages are illegal in most countries. In fact, there are relevant bodies in place that monitor such activities. If you ever find yourself receiving one too many spam messages, make sure to notify the relevant authorities to handle the situation.
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Most importantly, remember not to engage with spam SMS messages regardless of how enticing that supposed prize looks. Ignore the message and file a complaint at your local telecommunications authority. You can install apps to recognize the caller ID, filter unknown senders, and identify spam calls.
Avoiding Text Spam Messages
Despite its difficulty, it is not impossible to stop receiving spam messages. You can take certain steps to ensure you stop receiving spam text messages or, at the very least, decrease the number.
Report to Your Mobile Carrier
If you receive a text message that seems like spam, report it to your carrier. You can do this via a phone call or simply forwarding the message. Certain mobile carriers have a designated keyword for these cases.
Major networks use the numerical keyword 7726, which spells SPAM on a mobile keyboard. Forward the spam SMS to your carrier with the keyword and phone number, and let them take care of the situation.
Report to Relevant Authorities
Every country has a relevant body dealing with telecommunication issues and regulations. Since spam texts are illegal in most countries, there are harsh punishments in place for those who break the law. You can make an official complaint using this channel—including all details of your case—and wait for them to investigate and take action.
Block the Number
This is the obvious option. Many spam texts come from legitimate numbers, so blocking them should be no problem. You can use text blockers to stop receiving these kinds of messages. Nonetheless, as spam texts get more elaborate, it’s getting more difficult to simply block the caller. The reason call blocking may not be as effective is due to spammers using third-party services to send their texts.
Unsubscribe or Opt-Out
As annoying as spam messages may be, not all of them have bad intentions. You may have subscribed to a marketing campaign and completely forgot about it. In this case, the company offers an easy way to unsubscribe from the texts. Reply to the text message informing the business and you will no longer get any text message from that particular marketing campaign.
Spam Text Messages Examples
By now, most people know what texting spam looks like. But for the clueless few, we compiled a list of examples so you can spot them
Verizon Account Phishing
In 2012, Verizon users received scam text messages from unverified senders posing as Verizon. The text message encouraged users to click on a link. The link directed users to what was an imitation of Verizon’s mobile website.
The unknown senders asked the unsuspecting customers to enter their login credentials and update their account information to continue their Verizon services. This is the text message sent by the scammers using a spoofed number:
“[User’s number] V-E-R-I-Z-O-N, To continue using our services please go to update.vtext02.net and update your account.359394.”
Spam Contest or Prize Offer
Sending messages about winning prizes is textbook scam, especially if you didn’t even participate in a contest. These messages usually tell you that you have to call a certain number during a limited window of time to claim a prize. What happens when you call that number is that the scammers charge you a huge sum of money. This is what they usually look like:
“URGENT! We are trying to contact U.Todays draw shows that you have won a 2000 prize GUARANTEED. Call 090 5809 4507 from a landline. Claim 3030. Valid 12hrs only.”
IRS Tax Scam
This is an extension of the same text scam run through emails and calls. You receive a message informing you have an undue tax to be paid. The message might even threaten you in case you fail to take action by responding to their number.
Remember that the IRS or any other tax revenue system does not request personal or financial information through phone, text message, or email. Hence, if you are on the receiving end of this kind of text message, consider it spam to avoid credit card or identity theft.
Frozen Bank Account
Scammers will go over and beyond to illegally obtain your information. You might receive an SMS from your “bank” notifying you that your account is frozen. When you call the number, they will ask you to provide all your personal information associated with the account and then use that data to scam you. To prevent these, you can set up scam alerts so you can differentiate fraud from reality.