How to Recognize and Report Spam Text Messages

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How to Recognize and Report Spam Text Messages
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If you’re tired of getting spam text messages, join the club. Perhaps you’ve been inundated with political texts, or maybe marketers have increased their alerts to your phone.

This article is going to show you how to recognize and report spam text messages so you can cut down on annoying correspondence from phone numbers you don’t know.

How To Spot and Stop Spam Text Messages

One quick way to eliminate unsolicited text messages is by replying STOP or QUIT or UNSUBSCRIBE. I’ve done this a few times already. Sometimes, directions on how to do this are included in the message itself.  

spam text message

This works because the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) requires text message programs to acknowledge and act on phone users’ requests to opt-out or end correspondence when told to.

The problem with getting spam texts is that you never know if the sender is a scammer looking to get your personal information. Replying to these suspicious texts can lead to a number of bad outcomes, including:

To avoid those problems, which could further crowd your inbox and even cause financial problems here are some ways you can identify spam text messages.

How to Recognize Spam Text Messages

If you’ve received a text message from an unfamiliar sender, the first thing you need to do is discern whether it’s a scam or just spam.

To deal with a suspicious text message, here are some questions you can ask yourself based on information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

  • Does it ask you to give any personal information?
  • Does it claim that you have a fake invoice for a transaction you believe you didn’t authorize?
  • Does it claim that you have a package delivery when you haven’t ordered anything?

See the Federal Trade Commission’s website for more ways that scammers target unsuspecting people via text. In the meantime, here’s a rule of thumb you should always remember:

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If you believe that the information in the text message is true, always contact the company using a phone number or website that you’ve confirmed is authentic. Never use the contact information in the text message.

How to Report Spam Text Messages

Now that you know how to stop suspicious text messages, you may be wondering what can be done about those annoying spam solicitations you’ve been getting. Here are three ways you can report them:

1. With Your Phone

If you have an iPhone, you can report junk iMessages by using the Report Junk link under the message.

On an Android phone, you have to tap and hold the message you want to report and follow the prompts to Tap Block > Report Spam > OK.

2. To Your Carrier

You can also copy and paste the suspicious message to 7726 (SPAM). Your wireless provider will then send you an automated message acknowledging receipt. In my case, T-Mobile replied, saying “We’ve got it from here.”

The spam message is then sent to a global security analysis center that tracks spam messages. Learn more about that here.

3. To the Government

You can also report spam text messages online to the U.S. government, specifically the FTC. Visit ftc.gov/complaint. From there, all you have to do is select the category from the FTC Complaint Assistant.

Final Thoughts

Spam text messages aren’t just costing you time and attention, they can cost you money. That’s why it’s important to stop them as soon as you can.

One more thing you can do is block the sender’s number. That way, you won’t have to worry about receiving messages from that particular number ever again. Here’s how to block a number on an iPhone and an Android.

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