Here’s the most important thing to know about SPAM text messages. Don’t respond. Not in any way.
We all know about SPAM text messages. In short, they are messages from some entity pretending to be something it isn’t.
We’ve all gotten these messages: You’ve won! Your package delivery is pending! The IRS has been trying to reach you! You have a refund coming! The old adage holds true – if offers or an advertisement sound too good to be true …
Our first instinct is to respond to any prompt or URL that directs us to a place to make the texts stop. This is a very bad response.
Replying in any way confirms that the messages have reached a real person. Replying to one SPAM text message can unleash hordes more.
Replying to SPAM text messages can also turn the messages into more than a nuisance. Replying can help a spammer or preprogrammed malware get into your phone. Once that happens, your personal information can be stolen.
What is a SPAM Text? What is Phishing?
The short definition is that a SPAM text is a message from an entity that is not what it seems to be.
It can take on a disguise, such as the messages termed Phishing. Phishing messages cloak themselves in the familiar. They are messages that appear to come from trusted sources.
In other words – if you’re an angler – it’s like fishing with a lure. It looks like a fish, but it isn’t a fish. It can show up in a text or in an email.
Another disguise is posing as an interesting link or attachment, sometimes to an email. These are sometimes called Click Bait. You get a message from a friend (who has been hacked) that urges you to take a look at a link or an attachment. The link or attachment may include malware.
How Did SPAM Get Its Name?
Remember Chat Rooms from the 80s and 90s? If a Chat Room participant wanted to annoy someone, the person would type Spam repeatedly.
How to Stop Getting SPAM Texts
There are many ways to stop getting SPAM messages, but the process is slightly different on iPhone and Android. Nobody wants lots of junk mail or messages in their cell phone inbox. Here’s a step by step guide on the easiest way to block messages on both Android and iPhone:
Blocking SPAM Messages on Apple iPhone (iPAD, iPod touch)
- Tap the info (i) icon.
- Look for the number from the recent senders.
- Choose that number.
- Choose Block this Caller.
Blocking SPAM Texts on Android
- Go to the Phone icon and tap on that. The icon looks like a little receiver.
- Go to call history to look for the number.
- Tap on the number for the senders in the call history that you want to block.
- Tap Block Sender icon.
You can also take proactive measures by blocking “unknown” callers. As you may imagine, this can be risky. If you do that, it means that no one who is not listed in your contacts, or previously texted, can send you a text. You won’t get a message from any new sender.
If you want to block unknown callers/scammers, go to the phone icon of your mobile device. Go to Settings. Choose Block Unknown Callers. If you want to admit a new sender, you’d have to add that sender to your contacts.
How to Stop SPAM Texts from Different Phone Numbers?
There are many other ways to stop SPAM texts on an iPhone, Android, and other types. Here are some of the best ways that you can block messages from different numbers:
Do Not Reply to a SPAM Text Message
As we said at the start, don’t reply to SPAM text message. If you do you risk getting malware installed on your phone. You also risk opening the door to a spammer who is trying to steal personal details. The Federal Trade Commission heartily agrees with the use of this advice!
Do Not Click Any Link in a SPAM Message
Never click on any links in such a message from unknown senders. That’s where the malware hides.
It may be very tempting to click on links, even if they are from unknown senders. The advice could say something like “use this link to remove from our contact list” or similar. And that’s what you want to do, and it looks so easy.
Don’t do it. Instead, take one of the actions we advise next.
Report SPAM Messages to 7726
Why 7726? Those are the numbers which would spell SPAM.
The Big 4 cell carriers (Verizon, AT & T, Sprint, T-Mobile), and others, share this capability. Don’t reply to the text message. Instead, use your carrier to forward the number to 7726. Your carrier won’t charge you for that service. You won’t be charged because the cell carriers want to thwart unwanted text messages as much as you do.
The instructions are similar with Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and various carriers:
- Press on the text until you get a pop-up with a details screen of choices.
- Press the Forward button.
- Enter the recipient name, which will be 7726.
- Press the send button.
Download an Anti-SPAM App
Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, you can download an app to block messages. Many of the apps are free. Some have a fee. There is a version to block spam on every type of phone.
These apps give you a strong block from receiving unwanted text messages. That includes robotexts and robocalls.
Customers with the goal of eliminating junk messages report great results using these blocking apps. They function to block SPAM messages, including robotexts. Even better than just blocking robotexts, they can also block spam calls, robocalls and other junk telemarketing calls.
Apps include Truecaller, YouMail, Nomorobo, Robokiller and more. The app will make it much tougher for spammers to reach you.
You can find and download the apps at the phone app store or Google Play.
Add Your Phone Number to the Do Not Call Registry
So, it’s infuriating. You’ve added your number to the Do Not Call Registry. Yet, you are still getting calls. What’s up with that?
The Do Not Call registry is great. But. It only stops sales calls.
You can still get political calls, calls from debt relief services (you’ll only get calls from debt relief services regarding debt you actually owe), survey calls, informational calls and calls from charitable organizations.
Still worth it though. Adding your number to the registry will stop sales calls.
You can slso use caller ID to keep from answering unwanted calls from unknown numbers and use the best call blocker you can find. Every time you answer a robocall, your number is verified as belonging to a real person. Let the phone company know if you’re beset with unwanted phone calls.
More Tips to Stop SPAM Text Messages and Calls
Protect Your Personal Details
One of the biggest tips – Legitimate companies don’t use texting to ask for information.
If you keep that big tip in mind, you won’t fall for any of the ruses used by scammers. Never give out information such as your email address or addresses, bank details or work information.
A Phishing text or email may look “real” when it shows up in your inbox. And it may seem to perfectly reasonable. You have a grand child who’s a world traveler. Or you have a friend who’s in a challenging health situation.
So it may seem believable when you get a message in your inbox that someone needs help. And you want to help. Don’t fall for lines such as “I’m in prison and need money” or “please text me back, I can’t receive phone calls right now.”
Review Your Phone Bill and Bank for Signs of Fraud
If you automatically toss your phone bills or bank statement into a pile to look at later, this is a mistake. USA today reports that fraud can go unnoticed without vigilant attention to this paperwork. If you don’t check monthly, fraud can continue…..well, for months.
What is phishing?
Phishing is a communication that appears to come from a trusted source.
The aim of phishing is to learn your user names, passwords and other account or financial information. Phishing can also be an attempt to add malware to your system through links or attachments.
Basic rule – don’t open anything from a source you don’t trust. Don’t open attachments. If friends are Phished, you’ll be included. What do you do if you phished?
- Go off line immediately.
- Use a different computer to change your user names and passwords.
- Do that fast.
What about social media phishing? It happens all the time. It may take the guise of a survey, such as “What is the name of the first street you lived on?, “What is the name of your favorite pet?” or “What is the name of your favorite friend?”
Guess what? The answers you give on the FB surveys may be the same answers you give to recover a password for some account you use, such as a bank or credit card account. Hackers love these surveys!
How do I recognize a text from spammers?
Spam messages often contain the following elements:
- You have received free gifts.
- You can get free gift cards.
- You have a refund coming.
- The IRS is trying to get in touch with you.
- A family member or friend needs help.
- Your bank information needs to be verified.
- Your Cloud ID needs to be verified.
- Your package is pending delivery.
- Fed EX or UPS is attempting to reach you. (track it yourself!)
- Bitcoin offer.
How do spammers get phone numbers anyway?
It could be that nobody got your phone number. You just got hit randomly by an autodialer.
Companies that want to send spam messages can get your number very easily. Let’s say you buy something online and “opt in” to get messages about the status of your order. Just like that, the information is out there.
Using that number, someone can find out where you live and information about your family.
Here’s an option – buy a “virtual phone” which you use only for things like on line ordering. A virtual phone uses VOIP (voice over internet) technology. You choose a city and state but your exact location is anonymous. You can receive voicemail and texts on a virtual phone.
For more, read Best Call Blocker apps.