ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Expensive Spam: Stopping Text Message Spam.

Updated on June 29, 2012

Lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in communications and it is one that can potentially cost you if not handled correctly. Spam SMS text messages are becoming an ever more popular method for getting in your face with scams and phishing attempts. Unfortunately for you, not only is it annoying but, if you’re not on an unlimited text plan it can be potentially quite expensive. Here for your reading pleasure I’ve assembled a few tips to assuage the onslaught.

Take a Deep Breath and Ignore it.

First and foremost: DON’T WRITE BACK. It used to be that if you replied “stop” or something similar to an advertisement text message it would remove your number from their list and you would not receive any further messages from them. Unfortunately that only works in the case of legitimate advertisers and the majority of spam is anything but legitimate. Most messages still say that replying “stop” will remove your number from the system but what is really going on is that they are testing to see if the number is active. A spammer will send a message to a huge list of numbers without knowing if any of them are actually in service and connected to real people. Replying “stop” simply confirms that, yes, your number is indeed active and makes it valuable information that a spammer can then sell to marketers or other spammers and simply exacerbates the problem.

Blocking Spam: Your Carrier is Here to Help!

In order to stop spam you’re better off starting with your carrier. At&t and Verizon both have tools to block text messages that originate from the internet. Sprint and T-mobile also have filtering tools that let you block specific numbers or block messages based on content. Check below for instructions on a how to block text messages on each carrier.

Verizon: Log in at http://www.verizonwireless.com, and go to My Services>Spam Control. From there you can block five numbers and 15 internet sources like email addresses.

At&t: Log in at http://mymessages.wireless.att.com. Go to Preferences>text-blocking .

T-Mobile: Log in at http://www.t-mobile.com and go to "My t-mobile>Change plan or services" This will go to "Your Current Services" click "change services" button. Here, you can block different types ofmessages in a variety of ways.

Sprint: Log in at http://www.sprint.com. Mouse over "Digital Lounge" and select "Messaging." Click on the "Block Texts" button under the "Texting" section. Select the "Block messages from all senders in my block list" option. In the text box, enter the numbers and addresses you wish to block.

Virgin Mobile: login at http://www.virginmobile.com and go to the message settings page to block messages. You can add up to 10 phone numbers or email addresses to this list.

Boost: Compose a new text message to 9999, write the word block in the body of the message, followed by a space and then the phone number or email address you wish to block. You’ll get a confirmation text back confirming that it has been blocked.

Unfortunately, sms spam blocking is not available on all small carriers. For users on Metro PCS, US Cellular, Net 10, Cricket etc. I recommend that you check with your carrier’s customer service department and see if they offer SMS blocking.

Report Spam

Though the exact laws vary somewhat by state, The FCC has stated that SMS spam is Illegal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the CAN-SPAM act. Tracking down the spammers and stopping them, however, is no small task and it depends on consumers taking the time report spam. The 4 largest carriers, Verizon, At&t, Sprint and T-Mobile all allow subscribers to report spam messages simply by forwarding said message to 7726. Consumers can also file complaints to the FCC. Furthermore, by reporting spam as soon as you get it you create a basis upon which to dispute charges with your carrier when they charge you for the SMS spam you receive.

Finally, the best way to avoid spam is by guarding your number. Rather than putting your number right in the craigslist post when you go to try and sell your old bike, let potential buyers email you first. If you’ve got your number on facebook, make sure that your privacy settings are configured such that only friends can see it. Take advantage of services like Google voice. Rather than giving out your direct number, give out a Google voice number. Text messages to Google voice cost nothing and can easily be filtered. Add your number to the “National do not Call Registry” at https://www.donotcall.gov/ though this does not directly affect SMS spam, it is quite handy at blocking telemarketing calls. Don't follow shady links to contests and such on the internet and give out your phone number. Most sites that ask for a phone number during registration have it as an optional field. If it is a required field that's a red flag. Find out why they want your phone number.

Just remember, as aggravating as it is, NEVER write back, and don’t follow any links in text spam.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MumblyJoe profile image
      Author

      Andrew MacDonald 5 years ago from Savannah, GA

      Thanks! there actually was a company called Blue Frog Security that took a very simple approach to spammers and basically spammed them back on a level that approached a DDoS attack. Unfortunately it didn't work out so well. You can read more about them here- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Frog

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for the interesting report on this subject.

      Instead of the NSA spying on our communications why don't they allow the use of the billions of dollars of special gear to track down the spammers.

      Invade their privacy.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)