Wednesday, January 3, 2018

5 Ways to Handle Spam Text Messages


When you hear the notification that you have received a text message, you probably want to see who it is from right away. It could be a loved one saying hello or a coworker relaying important information about work. You likely aren’t expecting a spam message congratulating you on winning a prize or soliciting you to confirm financial information. These messages aren’t just annoying—they can be dangerous, too. You are savvy enough not to fall for these pranks, but you might not know what to do in order to get the messages to stop.

There are a few different ways to handle these messages and prevent these messages from becoming a consistent invasion. Consider the following five ways you can deal with spam text messages and reclaim your phone from predatory scammers. You should not have to deal with unwanted texts, and with these tips, you will not have to.

Register on the Do Not Call List

One of the first things you should do to ensure that you minimize unwanted texts and calls is register your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. This list is managed by the Federal Communications Commission and functions to alert solicitors that you should not be contacted. By law, cold callers must reference the list to ensure that they are not contacting anybody who appears on it. In recent years, the FCC expanded the function of the DNC list to include an opt-out option for text messages, too. You can register your number to prevent unwanted texts and calls.

Install a Filter App

Unfortunately, many spam calls and messages do not abide by the laws requiring that numbers on the DNC list not be contacted. You might find, in fact, that there is very little difference before and after you register on the DNC list. Some cell phone users have found that an SMS spam blocker is a more effective solution to the problem. There are a number of different apps you can install that fulfill this purpose. SpamHound, for example, works to filter unwanted texts and allows users to specify specific phrases to be omitted from one’s inbox.

Report Spam to Your Carrier

In addition to installing an SMS spam blocker on your phone, you can report the spam directly to your carrier. Cell service providers such as Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T will all typically accept your complaint and make note of the spam. This is useful, too, given the fact that you are likely being charged for every unwanted text message you receive. You should not be financially liable for these unwanted communications, so notifying your carrier of the issue may help you get the charge removed from your bill. You can also request that your carrier block the number.

Block Offending Numbers

Blocking a number is, in fact, often the most effective way of dealing with spam messages. You can contact your carrier to request this, or you can often log online and complete the task yourself. Most carriers allow you to create an account and control who can communicate with you. On some phones, you can even complete a block directly on the interface. If you consistently receive spam messages from several numbers, it is best to prohibit them from contacting you. This also ensures that you will not be charged for any attempts at calling or texting from the number.

Consider the Message Carefully

Most internet-literate people can tell when a message is spam. Any unexpected prizes or strange financial emergencies are typically a ploy to gain personal information that can then be sold or used against you. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the goal is often identity theft. To this end, many of these messages are often disguised as notifications from your bank asking you to enter confidential information. Because of this, you should always carefully read messages that claim to be from a financial institution. Of course, some of these will be legitimate, but you should err on the cautious side.
Spam texts are not just a nuisance. They are often a risk, too, and it is imperative that you take care of them rather than simply ignoring them. Luckily, there are many ways to do this, but you should always be careful when you receive a message from a number you do not recognize.

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