How to Thwart Mobile Text Spammers

When I get more text messages on my mobile phone from mobile spammers than my teenage daughter, something is wrong.

If you have the same problem, take these steps to eliminate text-based SPAM.

I’ve been receiving a barrage of unsolicited text messages lately from companies offering secret shopper opportunities, details on secret crushes, and ways to get $1500 in by bank account within 24 hours.   The practices of Text spamming (most often referred to as m-spam) is ubber annoying — particularly if you have a per-message texting plan because mobile phones don’t have the ability to identify spam directly.  It’s costly and annoying. The’ secret crush’ offer has been troubling  mobile users for more than a year.

“I replied stop after I got the first msg. (a month ago)and they said I was unsubscribed from their services, ” said Kathy. “Lo and behold I got this months phone bill and there it is $9.99 charge from the same #. I texted stop again and it said I was not subscribed for any of their services. Go Figure!” I can only imagine what would happen if an unsolicited secret crush invite found their way on to the phone of my middle school age daughter.  The app sends daily messages at $1.99 each   (nearly $60 per month).

Each text-based spam message tells me that I can reply ‘Stop’ to eliminate the messages.  However, based on the discussion I’ve seen on online forums,  I’m convinced that responding to a text may only trigger additional unsolicited offers or charges.  With a bit of research, I find that my cellphone carrier, AT&T, and others are prepared for these instances.  Each offers the ability to block text messages from specific locations. For AT&T, the destination is mymessages.wireless.att.com. It also provides the ability to replace the default email address for text messages [my 10-digit wireless number]@txt.att.net) with a  text ‘alias’ alternative that is difficult for spammers to guess .

If unsolicited text messages persist,  you can file a complaint with the FCC using an online complaint form. You can also file your complaint with the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).  You may also be able to file a complaint with the consumer protection department of your state government.  In Wisconsin, online complaints can be filed with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection using their own online complaint form.  I like to utilize both forms to reward marketers that abusing text messages in this way.

Evil Apps

Sending text-based SPAM is too easy. There’s no shortage of Apps, like this one that can be used to send SPAM to mobile phones. Use instructions above to block and thwart dubious texters.

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