When you get a notification on your iPhone or Android, you rightfully expect it to be a text message from a friend or family member. But when you open up your messaging app and notice that it’s from a suspicious number, it’s easy to feel frustrated and disappointed.
Unwanted calls are the top consumer complaint reported to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and suspicious texts are on the rise. Not to mention, an Antispam System at the University of Texas El Paso revealed that of over 11 million email messages, over 8 million were spam.
Here’s how to report spam texts and get rid of them forever.
Find The Source Of The Spam Messages
A great way to defend against future spam messages is to find the source of where they’re coming from. Usually, the caller ID will show you a number at the top of your messaging app, and you can put this into a reverse phone directory to see if it’s attached to a real person.
But in most cases, spam texts aren’t coming from a real person: they’re coming from a computer or a device and being delivered to your phone through an email or instant messaging address. This also allows them to mass-send messages to multiple consumers at one time.
If you can’t find the source, you can still block the number.
Get Rid Of Texts From A Spammer
On iMessage and most other messaging apps, you can get rid of spam messages pretty easily. On iPhone ios, tap the name or number at the top of your messages conversation. Then, scroll down and tap “Block this Caller.” This will prevent them from being able to contact you in any form.
You can also filter unknown senders to prevent notifications from anyone who isn’t in your contacts. To do this, go to Settings and click “Messages.” Then, “Turn on Filter Unknown Senders.”
On Android, you can open up the associated message that you want to block and click the three-dot menu at the top right corner. From there, choose “Details” and then hit “Block & Report Spam” on the next page. Make sure the “Report Spam” box is checked off before clicking “OK.”
Also, a major rule of thumb is to never respond to a message that you believe to be spam. While some will give you the option to “opt out” by responding with STOP, don’t do it.
Spammers will use that information as a signal that you engaged with the message and that your phone number is legitimate.
Report Spam Messages To Your Cell Carrier
Most cell carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon are enrolled in a service that allows you to report spam texts directly through them at no charge. Just forward a spam sms message to SPAM (7726) and the carrier will block the number and add it to a list to try to protect others from receiving spam at the same number.
If you’re unsure whether or not your provider has a spam-blocking service, give them a call or check their website to see what options are available to you.
Log A Complaint With The Fcc
Filing an informal complaint with the FCC whenever you receive an unwanted text or phone call can help to identify and track issues that can otherwise affect the general population. By bringing fraudulent numbers to their attention, you may be saving innocent people from privacy breaches or financial scams.
To file a complaint, go to consumercomplaints.fcc.gov and select the type of complaint you wish to make. After filling out the form, make sure you still report the spam text to your carrier so that they are made aware of the issue and can block the number from reaching you again.
Our Advice: Use This App To Get Rid of Spam
One of the best ways to get rid of spam is to prevent it in the first place. Your personal phone number should only be given to people you trust. This is because scammers can get a lot of personal information about you from your phone number alone, and it might lead to fraud and other unwanted consequences.
Burner is an app that acts as a second phone number for calls, texting, and picture messaging. All calls are directed from the second number to your real number so that incoming callers never actually see what your real phone number is.
This lets your personal number stay private so you have peace of mind. Plus, you can make as many local numbers as you want and burn them whenever you want, all without ever needing to buy a second phone.
Not to mention, Burner lets you mask your own phone number when you make outgoing calls as well. When you give someone a call or send a text, it will block numbers so they show up as your Burner number, helping to maintain your privacy even further. The Burner app works on both iPhone and Android phone.
Unwanted texts are frustrating and annoying, but they can also be unsafe. In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed nearly $667 million worth of total losses from fraud scams across the country. Identifying and reporting unwanted text messages is essential to keep yourself safe.
You can report suspicious texts directly to most major phone carriers by forwarding it to SPAM (7726). However, you can also block callers directly in most messaging apps, or file an informal claim with the FCC.
If you’re tired of worrying about scams and spams, it's time for a Burner number. Get your second number and keep your primary one safe from phishing, fraud, and everything in between.
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Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2019 - January 2020 | Federal Trade Commission