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Stop Text Message Spam

Learn how to avoid getting spam messages on your mobile phone.

Unwanted text messages, or spam, can be a nuisance to mobile phone users. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Unwanted text messages, or spam, can be a nuisance to mobile phone users.

These days, spam messages are sent to cell phones just as often as they're sent to e-mail addresses. Because spammers develop new methods of getting to your in-box all the time, it's extremely difficult to rid your phone of this nuisance. What's more, spam texts could be costing you money. Some wireless providers charge you every time you receive a text, regardless of whether it's a legitimate message from one of your contacts or unwanted spam. How can you protect yourself against this harassment and expense? Keep reading for tips on how to stop text message spam.

Preventing Text Message Spam

As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or in this case, several pounds of spam). Just like your e-mail address, Social Security number, or any other piece of personal information, be careful about who you give your cell phone number to. Be careful when giving your number to Web sites that collect your personal information, and there's never any reason to post your cell phone number on a public forum or discussion board. Also, be wary of questionable sites offering free cell phone ring tones and cell phone games -- they might seem like a great idea at the time, but downloading programs from unreliable sources can open the door to text-message spam.

Contact Your Cell Phone Provider

Even if you've been careful about giving out your phone number, text message spammers will most likely find you at some point. If you are being plagued by text message spam, the first thing you should do is contact your cell phone provider. In fact, some experts suggest you contact the provider as soon as you receive an unwanted message. There are two reasons for this. The first is that by contacting the provider immediately, you have a better chance of removing the charge for the text from your bill (or, if you have a messaging plan, not having it count against your limit for the month).

The second reason is that your provider can help you set up a plan to counteract text message spam. One way they can do this is to set up blocks from specific phone numbers and addresses to your phone. This allows you to continue to receive messages from organizations you trust, such as your bank or credit card companies. Unfortunately, this method isn't foolproof, because spammers constantly switch addresses.

For a more complete text-spam blocking solution, adjust your phone's settings (or call your provider to do it) so that the phone accepts texts only from other cell phones, not from Internet addresses. Of course, this is a huge inconvenience for people who rely on their cell phones for Internet communication.

Get on the Do-Not-Call List

A second line of defense against text message spam is the federal government. In 2005, the federal CAN-SPAM Act was passed to offer protection to not only email users, but also cell phone users. Be sure to register online on the National Do-Not-Call List or call (888) 392-1222 to get your number in the database. If you continue to get unwanted spam on your phone, you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

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