Received a Spam Text? Here’s What You Need to Know To Stop Them.
Spam texts. The newest enemy in the growing fight against unwanted phone spam.
If you have felt as though spam texts are on the rise, you are not mistaken. Each year, nearly 4.5 billion unwanted spam texts flood mobile phone numbers in the United States.
Though text message spam used to be an occasional annoyance, new technology has made it cheap and easy for anyone to send unwanted spam texts. Luckily, apps like RoboKiller can help you stop spam texts at the source.
In this post, we will cover:
- What are spam texts?
- How do spam texts impact you?
- Why do you receive spam texts?
- Are spam texts legal?
- Why are spam texts so difficult to stop?
- How to stop spam texts, for good.
What are spam texts?
Spam texts are a form of spam which uses text messages to send irrelevant or inappropriate messages to a large number of recipients, typically to those who have not expressed interest in receiving the communication.
If you have received a spam text, there is a good chance it is illegal. According to the FCC, it is unlawful to send unsolicited commercial email messages to wireless devices, including cell phones and pagers, unless the sender gets your permission first. It is also illegal to send unsolicited, unwanted text messages from an auto-dialer — equipment that stores and dials phone numbers using a random or sequential number generator.
How do spam texts impact you?
Not only are spam texts annoying, but they are also a threat to your privacy and security. Here are a few reasons spam texts are so problematic:
- Spam texting is a strategy for scammers and telemarketers to identify if a real human is behind your phone number. Many times spam texts are designed for the recipient to take action, such as replying “STOP” to unsubscribe. Unfortunately, you are not helping yourself by opting out; you are just identifying yourself as a target.
- Spam texts are designed to steal your personal information. Many text scams come disguised with the promise of gifts, product promotions, cheap mortgages, and debt relief services to get you to reveal personal information. To receive these offers, you must provide information such as your credit card and social security number.
- Engaging with spam texts can install malware on your phone. Clicking on a link in the message can install malware that collects your private information from your phone. Once the spammer has your information, it is sold to marketers or identity thieves.
- Spam texts can generate unwanted charges on your cell phone bill. Your wireless carrier may charge you for merely receiving a text message, regardless of whether you requested it. How annoying is that?
Why do you receive spam texts?
There is no method to the spam text madness.
You typically receive spam texts at random. Spam texters use auto-dialing services that send unwanted text messages to every conceivable phone number. Only in some circumstances are you strategically targeted by a scammer. So, if you have received a spam text, there’s a good chance the odds simply were not in your favor.
Auto-dialers and indiscriminate targeting make it challenging to stop spam texts on your own. This is because spam texts are generated at random, leaving few solutions for you to prevent unwanted spam texts from reaching your phone. Here’s what you can to do to reduce your risk:
- Google your phone number. Searching for your phone number will identify if your phone number is publicly available for scammers to scrape off the internet. If you own a business, check to see if you have included your phone number anywhere on your website. Those phone numbers are usually collected and sold to scammers.
- Check your social media accounts. Is your phone number publicly available? If so, this could be another reason you could be receiving unwanted spam texts and spam calls. On apps such as Facebook, you can edit your privacy settings to ensure your phone number is only accessible to those you are friends with.
- Read the fine print of forms you complete! Many times, organizations will add a clause stating that by completing a written or website form, you are opting into receiving promotional texts or text notifications. If you don’t want to be bombarded with annoying texts about marketing promotions, appointment reminders, or any other type of business communication, make sure to communicate that you do not opt into receiving these texts.
- Download a spam text blocker app on your smartphone. Apps like RoboKiller work to block incoming spam texts and spam calls before they occur. RoboKiller uses machine learning to analyze text messages for critical predictors of spam such as the number the text came from, message body, any attachments, and other factors to determine if it should be filtered out.
Are spam texts legal?
It is illegal to send unsolicited commercial email messages to wireless devices unless the sender gets your permission first. It is also illegal to send unsolicited text messages from an auto-dialer — equipment that stores and dials phone numbers using a random phone number generator.
There are two exceptions to the FCC law regarding spam texts:
- Transactional or relationship types of messages. If a company has a relationship with you, it can send you things like statements or warranty information.
- Noncommercial messages. This includes political surveys or fundraising messages.
It is important to note, that while legal texts that you may consider to be spam are undoubtedly annoying, they are not the form of spam texts that should cause you as much worry.
Illegal spam texts are especially dangerous because they have no regard for the law. Spammers know what they are doing is unlawful from the start. They are not going to abide by the law or honor your requests to stop receiving spam texts.
Why are spam texts so difficult to stop?
Caller ID spoofing is arguably the most significant challenge in fighting unwanted spam texts.
Caller ID spoofing makes spam texts incredibly difficult to stop because its technology allows scammers to remain totally anonymous when trying to steal from you over the phone. And, if that’s not enough, caller ID spoofing and auto-dialing technology are typically very inexpensive to use, especially at a high volume.
Caller ID spoofing is the technology that allows you to alter the information forwarded to your caller ID to hide the actual origin ID. In simpler terms, caller ID spoofing enables you to display a phone number different than the exact number from which the call was placed. Caller ID spoofing works for both phone calls and text messages on your smartphone.
By spoofing your phone number, nearly anyone can call you from:
- Blocked caller ID
- “No Caller ID”
- Unknown caller ID
- Random phone numbers
- Phone numbers from local area codes
- Even your own phone number!
Illegal spam texters utilize caller ID spoofing because it promises total anonymity for their scams. Spoofing technology enables spammers to send spoof texts from fake phone numbers that are not their own, and sometimes even hijack unsuspecting victims phone numbers!
Spoofing increases the odds a spam texter will not get caught for their illegal actions, making spoofing is a weapon of choice for spammers worldwide.
How does caller ID spoofing impact you?
This all sounds pretty technical. What does it mean for me? Surprisingly, a great deal.
If you have received a spoofed spam text or phone call, there’s a good chance that an illegal scammer is behind it. Caller ID spoofing is very difficult to track and reveal the crook behind the illegal call. Many of these spam texts originate from overseas, where scammers do not care about the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s laws. With the malicious spam texts in the billions each month plus limited effective solutions to stop spam texts, it is important to stop them.
Second, spoofing also impacts your availability to stop you stop harmful spam texts on your own. Because spoofing generates a unique fake phone number for every spam text sent, few solutions can stop them effectively.
Why Blocking Spam Texts with Default Call Blocking Won’t Work
If you have received an unwanted spam text, you have likely come across a recommendation to use Apple’s default SMS filtering feature. It is true that Apple and Android offer text message filtering, but these features were not designed to fight the spam text epidemic.
Here are the steps you will see to block spam texts on your Apple iPhone:
- Access “Messages”
- Tap on the message from the spammer
- Select “Details” under the “i” icon on the top right of the screen
- At the bottom of the screen, select “Block Caller”
Notice anything wrong with this solution? If you thought about caller ID spoofing, then you’re right!
Because this spam texter likely texted you from a fake spoofed number, blocking their phone number following the above steps will NOT stop the spammer from texting you again or help your spam text problem.
It will merely block that one phone number, and the flood of spam texts will keep coming.
How to stop spam texts, for good.
If spam texters can’t reach your phone, they can’t steal your time, money and personal identity. However, as you now have seen above, finding a solution can be hard to do!
The most effective solution to stop spam texts is to download a spam text blocker app on your smartphone. Spam text blocker apps provide the most comprehensive protection and value because they use machine learning to analyze and block thousands of potentially harmful texts each day.
Many apps, such as RoboKiller, offer advanced protection from both spam texts and spam calls. RoboKiller analyzes each message for specific key predictors of spam such as the number the text came from, message body, any attachments, and other factors to determine if it should be filtered out. If RoboKiller does suspect the message is spam, the message is moved to a special folder in your messages app called “Unknown & Junk.” Here can still review it just in case it is NOT spam. Also, RoboKiller provides spam protection whether your phone is online or offline.
Follow these steps to stop spam texts using RoboKiller:
- Open your phone’s settings.
- Scroll down and tap on messages.
- Scroll down and tap on “Unknown & Spam.”
- Enable RoboKiller under the SMS filtering section.
- You’re done! RoboKiller is now protecting your messages!
RoboKiller Protects You From Unwanted Spam Texts & Calls on Your iPhone
Spam texting is undoubtedly on the rise and showing no signs of slowing down. With limited solutions available, it can be difficult to effectively stop your spam text problem on your own. With RoboKiller, you are protected from spam texts before they attack.
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend signing up for RoboKiller as the best solution to stop unwanted spam texts and robocalls for good. RoboKiller is the only robocall blocker app that allows you to take the fight to unwanted callers and spam texters.
Beyond offering the most effective spam call protection, SMS filtering, real-time caller identification, and blacklist/whitelist functionality, RoboKiller also allows you to get revenge on spam callers using Answer Bots, hilarious pre-recordings that keep spam callers on the phone for hours. What better way to fight off robocalls from your opposing party than with robocalls of your own!
Starting a low monthly fee, RoboKiller is a secure investment to protect your privacy and personal information against annoying spam texts and unwanted calls. Join the fight to stop spammers for good, all while enjoying a spam-free smartphone.