What are spam texts?
Spam texts (also known as phishing texts or SMS spam) are messages sent by hackers, which attempt to get you to click on a link or divulge personal details such as banking information, credit card, address, or even your social security number.
Spam refers to messages which are unsolicited and unwanted. Usually, spam texts are not coming from another phone. They mainly originate from a computer and are sent to your phone via an email address or instant messaging account.
What are robotexts?
Robotexts are a type of spam text, however, they are less invasive than robocalls because they are easier to ignore. Still, it’s annoying to hear the sound of an incoming text message and to check your phone — only to find it’s spam.
Why am I getting spam text messages?
There are several potential culprits:
- Social media sites track your online activity and may sell your phone number (provided in your profile) to other companies.
- Spammers may tap an Automatic Number Identification system, which records your number when you make calls to 800, 888, or 900 numbers.
- Websites keep your phone number when you sign up for contests, coupons, and rewards, and they could use it to contact you or lose it to scammers after a breach.
- Scam artists use random dialing devices to send texts to working numbers.
What to do when you receive a suspicious spam text message
These are rules to follow when it comes to spam:
- Never click on a link from a suspicious text or an unfamiliar number.
- Never reply to a message, which would confirm that your number is active.
- Take a screenshot of the message so you can report it to the proper authorities, then block the number. Not sure how to do either? We’ll show you.
How to stop spam texts
Two simple ways to stop getting spam texts are blocking numbers and using spam filters on your mobile device.
HOW TO STOP SPAM TEXT MESSAGES ON IPHONE:
Open the Messages app. Go to the unwanted text and tap the profile photo or icon at the top. Tap info, then tap info again on the next screen. Finally, select Block this Caller, then Block Contact.
How to block spam texts on Android:
- On an Android, open your phone app and tap on the three-dot icon in the upper right corner and choose “Settings”.
- Tap on “Block numbers”.
- You will find several options, including unknown callers, recent calls, or from your contact list.
- Choose or manually enter a number you wish to block.
How to protect yourself from spam texts
Don’t disclose your cell phone number online unless it’s essential
Often, online forms ask us to disclose phone numbers but remember that the details you submit can often end up on marketing lists or databases. Unless it’s essential or mandatory, avoid giving your number out to help reduce the number of unwanted texts and calls.
Don’t post your cell phone number publicly
For example, avoid listing your cell phone number on your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere.
Keep an eye on your cell phone bill
Review your phone bill regularly. If you see any charges which don’t look right, contact your network carrier to check if you’re either receiving or unknowingly sending spam messages from your phone.
Check to see if your carrier offers call blocking
Many major carriers offer call-blocking services that allow you to block phone numbers from unknown callers for a set period. Several third-party apps can block spam texts – including Nomorobo, Robokiller, Truecaller, TrapCall, and others. Bear in mind, though, that using these apps involves sharing your data with them.
Place your number on a Do Not Call Registry
Different countries have different schemes, but in the US, the Federal Trade Commission operates a National Do Not Call Registry. This allows users to opt out of receiving unwanted texts and marketing calls. However, note that actual scammers don’t abide by this registry, so they will continue to send scam texts regardless.
Use antivirus protection for phones
So much of our personal information is stored in smartphones and tablets, so it’s advisable to use mobile security to protect it. It also uses machine learning to stay on top of emerging threats.
Message spam and unwanted text messages are a real nuisance and often the start of a scam. As ever, a combination of awareness and practicing good cybersecurity hygiene is the key to staying safe.