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Defining a text spammer: What you need to know

Spam text messages are, at the least, annoying, but some can be downright dangerous. Learn why spam texts are a thing, how to recognize them, and what to do if you receive them.

Defining a text spammer: What you need to know

What is a text spammer?

A text spammer is a person who sends large numbers of text messages to various people. Such unsolicited messages are referred to as spam. Text messages sent by spammers may contain advertisements, incentives to enter fake lotteries and giveaways, attempts to launch phishing attacks, and other content ranging from merely annoying to simply dangerous.

Text spammers can act alone or in organized groups. It’s not uncommon for them to use specialized software to send messages to many people at once. Numbers can be obtained from many sources, such as data leaks caused by cyberattacks. They can even be randomly generated.

You might have seen the phrases text spam and text bomb used interchangeably, but in fact, they refer to different phenomena. Text bombs are messages sent in very large numbers to the victim (or victims) to fill up their phone and disrupt their phone line. They “bombard” the victim’s phone in such a way that they can no longer use it. SMS text bombs can be similar to spam messages in their content, but plain spam isn’t meant to make it impossible to use your phone.

How text spammers operate

Text message spammers act to get something from you – usually your data, including your Social Security number or credit card information. To achieve this goal, they use smishing, or SMS phishing.

Smishing is a form of a social engineering scam, where the scammer uses SMS messages to impersonate someone else. Scammers can pretend to be trustworthy companies, CEOs, charities, or even your loved ones – all to gain your trust and persuade you to reveal your personal data.

Smishing more often than not relies on malicious links attached to the messages, which direct victims to fake and dangerous websites. People who fall for these messages might willingly provide their personal information, thinking they’re using a legitimate service, but in fact handing their data to scammers.

Text spammers rely on the quantity of their messages, rather than quality. Their attempts are easily recognizable by those who know what to expect, but seniors and people less familiar with tech scams may fall for them.

Smishing is present in spam SMS messages, just like phishing is present in spam emails. Both are essentially the same type of scam. It’s worth protecting yourself from both. We recommend using specialized software, such as Threat Protection built into NordVPN, which warns you of potentially harmful links that might find their way into your inbox.

How to identify text spam scams

Fraudsters use plenty of ways to pretend to be someone else to scam someone. That’s why we’ve created a handy list of red flags you should pay attention to to avoid spam text messages.

  • Unwanted text messages from unknown numbers. If you don’t expect someone to contact you and have no idea why they’re doing it now, someone may be trying to scam you.
  • Urgent or threatening language. Scammers take advantage of people’s emotions. Messages often evoke a sense of urgency or fear of consequences. For example, they might urge you to pay for a service under the threat of turning it off.
  • Grammatical errors and misspellings. Many scammers don’t care about linguistics and use automatic translators. Messages full of errors are most likely scam attempts.
  • Suspicious links. Links included in scam texts often lead to malicious websites and fake payment gateways.
  • Requests for personal or financial information. Spam messages might try to convince you to reply with some personal information.
  • Unsolicited requests for payment or donations. Some scammers impersonate service providers and charities. They might contact you via text messages and urge you to pay or donate to their fake causes.

Fraudsters who use text spamming exploit a variety of situations to commit fraud. The most common types of text spam include:

  • Fake lottery winner or an invitation to a fake lottery.
  • Fake notification from your company.
  • Bank account activity that needs verification.
  • Package delivery that requires additional information.
  • Fake credit card offerings.
  • Fake recruiters looking for new employees.

Text spam examples

Spammers may be more or less creative, but there are a few text spam examples that are more common than others. Below are some real-life cases of text spam that you may encounter in your everyday life. Chances are you’ve already dealt with some of them.

Here are some real life text spam examples that you can encounter in your daily life:

Problem with delivering a package

Most of us shop online and receive packages, so randomly finding someone who happens to be expecting a delivery is easy. Scammers take advantage of this fact and impersonate delivery companies.

A fake message from a courier may inform you that you need to provide additional information to receive your ordered package. Such a message often includes a link to a page where you are supposed to provide the required data. This is designed to trick you into revealing your Social Security number, credit card number, and other sensitive information.

A job offering

Scammers often use well-known brand names to fool people who are looking for jobs. They may contact you via SMS and ask you to fill out a form to participate in recruitment. Of course, the job doesn’t exist, and the forms are designed to steal your data.

To increase the chances of their success, scammers prepare the most desirable offers: remote positions, part-time jobs for students, or well-paid one-off assignments.

Fake security alert

Lots of services send automatic alerts to their customers if they detect suspicious activity. The problem is that fraudsters do it, too.

A fake security alert might contain information about a payment and a link or phone number for you to call if you haven’t made any transactions. The message is designed to get you to believe something suspicious is happening to your account.

The scammers want you to provide information or contact them so they can “fix” the issue. In reality, they want to persuade you to reveal your data or install remote control software so they can use your device to steal information and/or money.

Lottery winner

An SMS spammer may tell you that you’ve just won an iPhone or other valuable item. They may use well-known brand names to sound more trustworthy. All you have to do is enter your information using the attached link, and the prize will be yours.

This is, of course, a spam message designed to get you to visit the linked site and provide your personal information. No iPhone will be sent to you, but you might get your identity or data stolen.

Scammers may also invite you to take part in fake lotteries, rather than offering prizes out of the blue. The scheme works the same way: Provide your information to enter a giveaway or contest. If you receive such a message, check whether the brand in question is actually holding any events.

Fake credit card offering

Looking to set up a new credit card? Spammers usually send messages by the hundreds or thousands, so there’s a good chance they’ll eventually hit someone who will be interested in their proposal, especially if the terms are very good.

If something is too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. This rule applies to all spam messages. Fake credit card offers are designed to convince you to enter your information on scammers’ sites, and nothing more.

If you’re not sure whether an offer is real or not, visit the company’s website, do a research on the company and read other people’s reviews.

How to respond to text spammers

If you suspect that someone is trying to scam you by sending spam messages, here’s what you can do:

  • Don’t respond to the message. Ignore the message, no matter how much the sender tries to convince you that you’ll suffer consequences if you don’t respond immediately.
  • Don’t open any links. Don’t click any links that are in the message.
  • Contact the sender by other means. If you suspect that the message may be legitimate, but you’re not sure about it, contact the sender, but don’t respond to their SMS messages. If it’s a company, find its contact information online, call, and ask if they tried to reach you.
  • Block the number. Use your phone’s blocking function to block the scammer’s number.

How to report a text spammer

You can report spam to protect yourself and others from further scam attempts.

If you are in the U.S., forward the spam message to 7726 or SPAM. This will let your service provider know about the scam attempt and block further attempts. The number works for most cellular providers in the U.S.

You can also use the ReportFraud website. It works with several law enforcement agencies and uses reports to investigate fraud and bring scammers to justice.

Other countries also have their own numbers and services for reporting cyber fraud and crimes. It’s impossible to list them all in one article, but you can find them online on your country’s government websites.

How to stop spam texts on an iPhone or Android

You can also use your phone’s built-in features to stop further spam texts. We explain how to do so below.

How to enable spam filters

Spam filters are a way to block a particular annoying sender or block all unknown senders altogether. We recommend that you simply block spam texts and don’t give the spammers your valuable time and attention.

How to block spam texts on iOS:

  1. To block messages from a malicious sender, open the “Messages app.”
  2. Go to a conversation and tap the sender’s name or number.
  3. Tap “Info.”
  4. Tap “Block this caller.”

You can also block messages from all unknown senders. To do this:

  1. “Open settings” > “Messages” > “Message filtering.”
  2. Turn on the “Filter unknown senders” feature.

In addition, the iMessage app allows you to report spam to Apple. To do this, go to “iMessages” and swipe the unwanted message left. Tap the “Trash can” icon, then tap “Delete and report junk.”

How to block spammers on Android:

  1. Open the message and touch the three dots at the top of the screen.
  2. Tap “Block number.”

Android also has a built-in spam filtering feature. To enable it:

  1. Open the “Google messages” app and tap the user icon at the top of the screen.
  2. Open “Messages settings.”
  3. Scroll down and touch “Spam protection.”
  4. Enable “Spam protection.”

Use a spam text blocking app

Another option to block malicious texts is to install a third-party spam-blocking app. Just remember to choose a safe one. Always read other users’ reviews and look out for ones that suggest the app may be malware.


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