Text Spam - How to Stop Spam Text Messages
Text Spam Messages
The other day I got my first spam text message. I was pretty PO'd. I am careful about giving out my cell phone and keep it for business purposes only. I also tell everyone I don't use text. I know I'm kind of a dinosaur in this way, I just tell people I'm not "textually" active. The point is, everyone who knows me knows not to text. They probably won't get anything back. I probably send about 10 texts a year and 9 of them go to my wife.
Well it started like this, I got a text from a 435-54. Just a code not even a real phone number. They were trying to get me to claim my "free" gift card. I just paid $0.20 for someone to send me an advertisement! That dog don't hunt and I wasn't going to pay for it...but someone was.
Step 1 - Call Your Cell Phone Service
In my case what I did was call my cell phone carrier - Verizon. They were terrific and very understanding. I asked them what I could do. He asked me some questions related to the content of the text and if there was a way to unsubscribe.
Next he looked up the 435-54 code and found out who was sending me these texts. I asked to have them reported to the FCC and blocked from accessing my account. I was also able to get them to credit me for 5 texts because it was going to take a couple days for the information to propagate.
I also found out this is a growing problem. SMS messaging doesn't have to originate from a phone. It can be done from a PC, meaning you can send text messages from your PC to a cell phone and there are programs that will cue up a single messages to thousands of phone numbers and with the press of a button... they all get sent.
My experience with Verizon was very good and they were a big help but I was not going to stop there....
Step 2 - Do Not Call Registry for Cell Phone
My next step was to confirm that I'd submitted my cell phone to the do not call registry. I know it is not for do not text but at least I'm covered. If you have not done so, you can submit your cell phone to the National Do Not Call Registry and phone companies are not allowed to solicit you at your phone without consent. It also works for residential land lines as well.
Step 3 - File Complaint with FCC
The Federal Communications Commission regulates the airwaves. This means anyone sending spam to your cell phone over the airwaves is subject to their regulation.
The form you are looking for is Form 1088: Junk Fax and Telemarketing and it can be used for the following cases, including spam texts;
- Junk fax to your home or business fax
- Live telephone call received at a home phone
- Prerecorded message to a home phone
Additionally it covers live telephone (or telemarketing) calls, voice messages, prerecorded telemarketing call, or e-mail/text message to
- a business phone.
- Emergency telephone; patient telephone in hospital, nursing home, or elderly care facility
- Wireless communications device (cell phone, pager)
- A toll-free number (800, 888, etc.) or any other service (except wireless) for which the called party is charged
I used it for the bolded bullet above. It takes about 2 minutes to fill out the form and send it in. Now as for whether it is useful or not, I have not idea. I suspect if enough people complain, they might do something about it.
For me, I'm covered by my carrier and my hope is that more people will fill out this form and maybe the govt can do something with them. Unfortunately far too many people fall for this stuff or they wouldn't keep doing it.
Summary on Stopping Text Spam
- Call you provider and get whatever assistance they can provide. Don't forget to ask for credit against these messages. Even if you are on a plan, if you get too many of these messages, it could put you over the limit and you don't need to be annoyed by these scammers anyway.
- Put your phone on the National Do Not Call Registry.
- File a complaint with the FCC
- Other Suggestions?
If you have other suggestions, Please leave them below and share with the world so we can put an end to these scammers..or at least give them a little pain.