May 032012
 

No-one likes email spam, and texted spam to your cell phone is even more objectionable.

I’ve recently been getting junk/spam type text messages on my cell phone.

This felt way more intrusive than regular spam emails and unwanted phone calls.  Text messages are typically ‘interruptive’ type events – you stop what you are doing to look at the message, whereas with email you can choose when you check your email.  And, of course, depending on your phone and messaging plan, you might find yourself paying for the cost of receiving the unwanted text message, too.

In one of life’s little unfairnesses, not only might you have to pay to receive the unwanted spam text message, but the spammer may have sent it for free by simply sending an email to your phone which gets converted to a text message.

All wireless companies provide an email to text gateway so that people can send an email to your phone’s email address, and they will convert it to a text message and send it on to you ‘for your convenience’ (and for the generation of a text message fee for them too, of course!).  You might not have even known that your phone had a text message conversion email address – if you contact your carrier, they will tell you what it is, and some will agree to turn the service off or change it to a different number or a character string instead.

If you get unwanted text messages, here are some things that can help.  And if you don’t – yet – get unwanted text messages, putting in place the protection recommended below can help keep them away into the future.

Do Not Call List Works For Mobile Phones and Text Messages Too

Here’s a bit of great news.  The national ‘Do Not Call’ service has been enhanced since it first came out many years ago.  It covers cell phones and text messages as well as home phones and soliciting sales calls, and numbers placed on the list now stay on the list forever (or until such time as you give up the number).

So you should be sure to sign up all your phone numbers.  You can do this either from their website, or by simply calling their toll free number (888)382-1222 from each phone number you wish to register.

More information on the types of communications which are and are not permissible can be found on the FCC’s site here.

What to Do if Unwanted Messages/Calls Received on a Do-Not-Call Registered Number

When you register a phone number on the Do Not Call list, you are required to wait patiently for 31 days in order to ensure that all telemarketers get your number included in their updated lists.

But from that point forward, any unwanted text messages or calls are prohibited.  If some still sneak by, you can complain to the FCC, using their online complaint service here.  You can also phone them at (888)225-5322.

You should also complain to your wireless carrier.  Many of the carriers have a number you can forward offending text messages to, and presumably if they get enough valid complaints, they’ll prevent the spammer from accessing their network.

Between the Do Not Call registry, FCC enforcement, and getting your wireless carrier on the case too, you should quickly find unwelcome intrusions into your text messaging go away very quickly.  It has certainly worked for me.

  4 Responses to “How To Prevent Spam Text Messages On Your Cell Phone”

  1. What about when the carrier itself is doing the spamming. I have a problem with AT&T texting sales messages to my cell phone even though I’m not signed up to do texting. I get to pay for these messages.

  2. Hi, Ruth

    I’m sure you don’t pay for those messages. Check your bill. All messages from your wireless carrier to your phone are typically free.

  3. The Do Not Call list is laughable. I have registered both my landline and cell phone. I still get daily calls from a scammer calling itself “credit card services” or a similar name with the same recorded spiel.

    Calls come from 303-249-9700, 305-202-1132, 312-640-3944, 313-204-1037, 513-417-0498, 515-421-5843, 612-222-7091, 617-390-4562, 720-409-2532, 785-207-6317, 801-647-0293, 802-230-6357, 920-602-0879, 970-232-6238, and 971-295-9768. I have reported these numbers to the FAA multiple times over several months. They have not stopped.

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