Spam text messages are more than just an annoying waste of your time. Scammers use them to get your personal information, make you pay extortionate amount of money for replies or calls, or install malware on your device. Don’t fall for such scams. Continue reading to find out what to do to stop spam messages.
What to do if you received a spam text message
- Never reply to spam text messages, even if they ask to reply to opt-out. If you do, it will confirm to the scammer that your phone number is active and they might use it for future attacks or to get more information out of you.
- Never click on any links as they might hide malicious software that can be installed on your device. Don’t clink on them even if they say ‘click to opt-out’. If the message claims to be from a company you trust, navigate to their website yourself to log in instead of using the link.
- Never give away any personal information. Legitimate companies would never ask you to reply with your login details, passwords, payment details or any other sensitive information. If you have any doubts, contact the company directly.
How to block spam text messages
- Block the number on your iOS or Android phone. However, this might not always work as scammers might send you messages from a spoofed number and could use a different one to text you next time.
On iPhone: Go to the text message > click on the Sender ID > click on Info > click on the Sender ID > and tap Block this caller.
On Android: Go to the text message > tap the three-dot icon in the upper-right hand corner > choose Block number.
(Note: these instructions may vary if you use a secure messaging app)
- Contact the company directly and ask to opt out. However, do not reply or call back to the number you received the text from. They may be coming from scammers pretending to be from the company you trust. It’s better to find their number online on their official webpage and give them a call.
- Put your mobile phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry. This should stop sales people from buying or in other ways obtaining your number from various databases.
- Check whether your carrier can block the caller ID. However, they will usually focus on blocking unwanted calls rather than unwanted texts.
- You can try using third party apps. However, they also mostly block spam calls rather than texts. If you do decide to use such apps, beware that some of them might gather your data without your permission or even sell it to other companies. Read their privacy policies carefully.
How to report spam text messages
You should also consider reporting spam messages and their senders:
It’s illegal to send unsolicited commercial email messages to wireless devices, including cell phones and pagers, unless the sender gets your permission first. It’s also illegal to send unsolicited text messages from an auto-dialer that stores and dials phone numbers using a random or sequential number generator.
– Federal Trade Commission
Reporting such messages might also prevent further spam from being sent to your phone and might help other people avoid spam. You can do so by:
- Filing an online complaint on the FTC’s page or on a similar regulatory body in your country.
- Reporting these messages and senders to your carrier. Copy or select the original message and text it to 7726. You can do so if you are an AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, or Sprint customer. They will use this information to try and block future spam messages.
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