No matter where you are, spam texts are annoying. They can be attempts to steal personal information, hack into your device or simply just sending you information you didn’t request. They try to lure you into disclosing passwords or financial details.
The good news is that you can stop receiving spam messages. Here is a guide on how to identify and report spam texts.
Which Messages Are Spam?
You can consider any unwanted and unsolicited message as spam text. Consumers filed more than 90,000 spam message complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2018, which has a significant increase from 70,000 in 2017.
These are the common types of spam texts:
- Ads from companies that you have never subscribed
- Special offers asking for personal information
- Verifications and refunds from businesses without recent transactions with you
- Prize claim texts from a contest you never entered
- Messages from government entities that typically send messages through the mail
- Texts from banks or credit card companies asking for login and verification
- Emergency messages from family members asking you to send money
- Messages from auto-dialers that randomly selects phone numbers
They typically include a link with these messages. They will bait you to sign up or login when you click them. That is why you should never click the link nor hand over your personal information. Their senders are bogus who try to hack your associated accounts to steal your identity and money.
Sending spam texts is illegal. According to the United States Federal Law, sending unsolicited commercial messages without the recipient’s permission can get you legally responsible.
Ways To Report Spam Text Messages
It’s inevitable for mobile users to receive a spam text. That is why it’s wise for you not to respond or tap the link. What do you need to do is remember the details mentioned below so you can report a spam text if you receive one.
Forward The Spam Text To 7726 (SPAM)
The shortcode 7726 (SPAM) is the globally recognized number for spam text reporting. The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) designated this number for several wireless carriers worldwide. They encourage spam text recipients to forward the message to the mentioned shortcode, typically free of charge.
These are the different ways to forward the message depending on the mobile phone hardware.
- For Apple users, hold down the message to let a menu pop up. Select “more,” and tap the blue arrow on the bottom right.
- For Android users, it may vary depending on the mobile phone manufacturer. But typically, holding down the message will lead you to see the forward option.
What happens next depends on your mobile carrier:
- Verizon will send you a text that requests the sender’s number and will respond with a confirmation message.
- Sprint will also respond by asking for the number, and you’re all set after that.
- AT&T has a site where you can enter the spam message’s details, but they won’t follow up with you through SMS.
- T-mobile will send you a confirmation, forwarding the message to its security center for analysis and action.
Reporting Spam Texts To FTC
FTC has a Complaint Assistant page where you can report spam texts. Their quick guide will help you tell what happened through a questionnaire. You will then provide the message and the sender’s number.
You can also register your number to their National Do Not Call Registry for free. It is also useful for spam calls and will also help you to cut down on unsolicited texts. It will take effect 31 days after your mobile number’s registration.
Reporting Spam Texts To FCC
Another way to report spam texts is through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Their consumer complaint center provides a form that you can fill out. It helps them know about the spam details.
Using Your Phone’s Messaging App To Block Or Report Spam
Your smartphone’s native messaging app can help you report or block spam text.
- Apple’s iMessage can help you block spam senders. A “block this caller” option is found when you tap the contact number, then info, and then the gray arrow on the upper right.
- Android’s native messaging app can help you block and report spam text. Hold down the message, tap block, report spam, and then tap ok.
Use Mass Texting The Right Way
Mass texting is the way for spammers to send messages to several recipients at once. They use, or rather abuse, a tool called the SMS platform. This powerful tool is legal and can be beneficial if used properly.
For example, Txtra offers SMS platform services for businesses. There are creative and legal ways for them to obtain written consent from the customers. That way, senders and recipients will benefit from SMS platforms without sending spam messages through a simple opt-in.