6 Clever Ways To End Robotic Spam Messages Before It’s Too Late
If you thought robocalls were boring, brace yourself. Spam text messages promising free gift cards, low interest rates on credit cards, debt relief services, or other scams are the next nuisance to our phones. The goal is the same, however: to steal your money.
While telephone companies are slow to stop the onslaught of robocalls, you can take proactive steps. Tap or click here to find 7 ways to stop robocalls now.
Unfortunately, stopping the onslaught of robotexts is up to you. The process starts with understanding how telemarketers, scammers, and other businesses get your cell phone number in the first place.
How businesses get your cell phone number
Social Media Sites Sell Your Data – Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google keep track of your online activity and provide that information to advertisers. If your phone number is public on social media, assume it’s in the databases of various marketing companies.
You called an 800, 888 or 900 number – When you call phone numbers with these prefixes, your mobile phone number is collected by an Automatic Number Identification (ANI) system. In addition to identifying and storing your number, the ANI system can match it with other digital data associated with you.
You Did It – There are many valid reasons why you would give your number to businesses. You complete a registration form, enter a contest, or register for an in-store rewards program. Whatever the reason, you voluntarily hand over your mobile number, and this practice puts your number in the wrong hands.
You Didn’t – Many telemarketing companies rely on automatic dialing devices capable of discovering and dialing all landline and cell phone numbers, including those that are not listed.
Related: FTC Shuts Down Four Telemarketers Responsible For Billions Of Illegal Automated Calls.
How to block robocalls and spam messages
Robotsexts are common now, and many people treat them as a necessary evil. “I have a smartphone,” they think. “Receiving unwanted messages is just one of the sacrifices of having one. Whatever you do, don’t respond or click anything in the text. There are several tactics for fighting back, and it helps everyone. The more we resist robotexts, the less likely their success is.
1. Tell them to stop
Many legitimate companies give you the option to opt out of receiving messages from them. Be careful though: crooks use this same technique to trick you into responding STOP to their messages, which can help verify you and your number. A quick Google search can usually confirm that a textable number is legitimate.
2. Block numbers
Blocking numbers is easy to do. That said, the exact instructions may vary depending on the manufacturer, model, and operating system of your mobile device. Also, keep in mind that the same operation may try to text you from a different number. Argh.
On an iPhone, open the text of the number you want to block and tap the sender’s number. Click on the information (I) icon. Under the Details screen, click on the phone number, choose Block this caller and Block contact.
On an Android device, open your phone app and tap on the three dots icon in the top right corner and choose Settings. Press on Block numbers. You will find several options including unknown callers, recent calls or from your contact list. Choose or manually enter a number you want to block.
3. Be a storyteller
Reporting a robotext or spam message to your mobile operator is an important step in the fight against robotexts and spam messages. Copy and forward the original text free of charge to 7726 (SPAM). You can use this method if you are a Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Bell subscriber.
4. Make a formal complaint
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it is illegal to send unsolicited commercial electronic messages to wireless devices without your consent. This act includes texting to your cell phone, and it is furthermore illegal to send unwanted text messages from an autodialer.
The only two exceptions to this law are transactional or relationship type messages, or non-commercial messages such as political polls or fundraising messages. If you receive unwanted commercial text messages, file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Wizard.
5. Use your phone’s secret setting
This setting isn’t exactly a secret. It’s so obscure that you probably never thought about it. You can help eliminate spam messages and robotexts by filtering spam on your mobile device.
Filtering spam on an iPhone is easy. Go to Settings and press messages. Scroll to Filter unknown senders and activate the setting.
If you are an Android user, open your phone app and tap on the three dots icon and choose Settings. Under Settings, to allow Caller ID and spam.
6. Get additional help
There are several third party applications to help you against spammers. Two popular apps, Nomorobo and RoboKiller, are both available for iOS and Android. While each requires a subscription that costs a few dollars per month, they are effective at blocking and filtering out suspicious spam bots and spam.
Hopefully, we can put an end to robotexts much faster than anyone did with robocallers.
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Check out all the latest tech on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s biggest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.