Spam text messages are a huge problem across the country with users receiving over 6 billion messages a month in 2020. With such staggering numbers, it is nothing short of a nuisance that must be eradicated. But it’s not that easy. Be it legitimate businesses or scammers, they are all looking to engage with mobile phone users in any way possible. If you have been bombarded with spam text messages, follow these tips from Shamis & Gentile P.A. to safeguard yourself.
Don’t reply to messages
The most critical step to stop receiving spam text messages is to not respond to them ever. If the sender is a scammer, replying to them will let them know that yours is a genuine number that they can target. They, in turn, can share or sell your number to other illegitimate businesses or scammers as a ‘verified active’ user. This, in turn, will substantially increase the number of spam messages with false advertisements and free gifts to your mobile phone.
Legitimate businesses may offer you the opportunity to opt-out of receiving unwanted texts by responding with ‘STOP’. However, several scammers are also using this trick to seem more ‘real’. Responding to these numbers with a ‘STOP’ is used as a signal that verifies you as an active user that can lead to more spam in the future. As a rule of thumb, refrain from ever responding to numbers that you are unfamiliar with. You could also do a quick Google search to see how legitimate the sender is.
Don’t tap on any links
This step is as important as the previous one. Clicking on any suspicious links in the spam text message can install dangerous malware on your phone. This malware can be used to retrieve personal information about you such as passwords and banking details. It also slows down the performance of your device and takes up a substantial amount of space. Clicking on these links can navigate you to seemingly legitimate-looking websites that can be dangerous as well.
Once scammers are able to retrieve your personal information, they make a quick buck by selling this to telemarketers or identity thieves.
Block the sender
If you are still bombarded with spam text messages from a particular sender, blocking them is the easiest way out. However, several businesses and scammers use multiple numbers to ensure they get their way into your inbox. Follow these steps to block a number:
- On an iPhone, tap on the number in the text.
- Click on (i) or information.
- On the Details screen, tap the number and choose Block this Caller and Block Contact.
- In the text message, tap on the three dots on the top right-hand side corner.
- Check Settings and tap on Block.
- As an alternative, you can also click on Block & report spam.
Depending on the carrier you are registered with, you may have the option to use their call-blocking services. There are also several third-party call-blocking apps that you can register with. However, you must check if these work with your existing carrier. Some of the popular third-party apps you can use are:
Finally, if you are still inundated with spam text messages, you can also file an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission as it is illegal to send unsolicited messages without user consent.
Follow these steps to manage and block spam text messages. However, if you are still struggling with several messages a day, contact Shamis & Gentile for a consultation today.