How to Stop Spam Text Messages
Spam is becoming more and more widespread. For example, the company behind spam blocking app RoboKiller estimates that spammers will send more than 147 billion spam messages in 2022, a 68% increase from last year. So how can you defend yourself and avoid becoming a scam victim? Keep reading for tips.
How to Stop Spam on iPhone
Blocking is the easiest way to stop unwanted text messages. According to Apple’s support documentation, to block spam on an iPhone, tap the information button next to the spam number on your “Recents” screen in the iPhone app, then tap “Block This Caller “.
However, experts do not recommend relying solely on this method to block spam. “Blocking unwanted text messages is like playing the whack-a-mole carnival game,” says cybersecurity expert Steven JJ Weisman. “Although you can block a particular number, spammers use many numbers to send their spam.”
Instead, Weisman recommends using scam-protection apps like Nomorobo, Hiya, and Robokiller, and keeping your number as private as possible. In the iPhone Settings app under “Messages” you can also turn on “Filter Unknown Senders” to help filter out spam as well.
How to Stop Spam Texts on Android
Like iOS, Android also has a spam text message blocking feature. However, it works differently: tap the Messages app, long-press the spam conversation, and tap “Block.”
Like iOS users, Android users should also invest in an app that automatically blocks incoming calls and text messages from people known to commit scams, says Pixel Privacy consumer privacy expert Chris Hauk. “Also check with your mobile carrier, as major carriers offer advanced call and text filtering and blocking for free,” he adds.
Additional tips for dealing with spam
There are other ways to deal with spam regardless of what mobile platform you’re using. Here are a few.
Read the messages carefully
Most spam will be obvious, with incorrect spelling, bad grammar, asking for personal information, etc. However, SMS scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and might be harder to detect this way.
Ignore unknown senders
Many experts we spoke to recommend using filters to filter out text messages from unknown senders. However, keep in mind that you can also filter important notification texts for deliveries and alerts, which often come from multiple numbers (usually not the same number).
Get on “do not text” lists
If you get a lot of marketing calls and text messages, you can add yourself to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry to stop them, says security firm Norton. If a trader contacts you after 30 days on the list, you can report it to the FTC.
Use another number
Another option is to share an alternate phone number for contacts you don’t fully trust. If you have T-Mobile, the carrier offers additional phone numbers through DIGITS. However, a service like Google Voice will also work.
Check your phone bill regularly
Kaspersky recommends that you regularly check your phone bill for any charges or usage that you do not recognize, as these could be spam. Contact your carrier for assistance.
Report spam to your mobile operator
Reporting spam to your carrier can help them detect and block these text messages before they even arrive on your device. Weisman says to forward all spam text messages to 7726, which spells spam on your keyboard.
Do not respond to spam
While playing with a scammer can be fun, Don’t Text app creator Tyler Kennedy says it’s a really bad idea. “When you reply to spam, you’re telling senders that your phone number is active,” he explains. Do not reward scammers for their efforts.
Do not share personal information
Experts all warn against sharing personal information via SMS. It is not a secure method of communication, and legitimate services will not request personal information via SMS. If you receive such a request, assume the sender is trying to run a scam.
Beware of links
“Clicking on links in spam emails is even more dangerous than replying to the text,” says Kennedy. “When you click on a link from spam text, you risk having your password or credit card information stolen or installing a virus on your device.” This can, among other things, lead to identity theft. Install antivirus software in case you accidentally click on a malicious link or download a malware-infected file.
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