Texting is a convenient method of communication. But like any other form of sending and receiving messages, spammers have learned to take advantage.
Spam texts aren’t just annoying – they can also be an attempt to steal your personal information or hack into your device. They’re also increasingly common. In 2018, consumers filed more than 90,000 complaints about spam messages to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – that number was just about 70,000 in 2017.
Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take to put an end to the problem. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to report spam texts so that your SMS inbox stays uncluttered and junk-free.
What Is a Spam Text Message?
A spam text is essentially any unwanted message. Common examples include:
- Mass ads
- Questionable “special offers”
- Notifications that you’ve won a contest you never entered
- Messages from the IRS or other government entities
- Messages that appear to be from a bank or credit card asking you to verify information
Often, if you click on the links included in these messages (never a good idea!), you’ll be asked to hand over some personal information. Don’t do this – you’ll be giving spammers exactly what they need to keep pestering you, hack into your personal accounts, steal your identity or install malware on your phone.
Spam text messages are also a legal no-no. According to the FTC, it’s illegal to send unsolicited commercial messages unless you first receive permission. If messages come from an auto-dialer, which randomly selects phone numbers, that’s spam, too.
On the other hand, if you opt-in to text messages from a business, or if you receive messages related to fundraising or political surveys – not spam.
How to Report Spam Texts
Again, never respond to spam texts or click on any links within spam messages. Instead, easily report unwanted texts through the following channels:
1. Forward the Unwanted Messages to 7726 (“SPAM”)
The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) has designated 7726 (“SPAM”) as a number for reporting spam texts. Most major carriers in the U.S. are members of the GSMA, which includes hundreds of providers from all over the world.
To report a spam message, simply forward it to 7726 – if you don’t have unlimited texting, this will never count against your plan.
For Apple users, you’ll need to hold down the message. Once a menu pops up, select More, then the blue arrow on the bottom right. The process for Android users varies by hardware and SMS app, but generally you’ll need to hold down the message and find a Forward option.
What happens next depends on your carrier:
- Verizon will send you a text requesting the sender’s number. After you respond, you’ll get a confirmation message.
- AT&T won’t automatically request more information, but it does provide a place online to provide more details, such as the sender’s number, when you received the message and what it said. True, this is an extra step, but it helps AT&T crack down on spam texts.
- T-Mobile will send you a confirmation text, then will forward the message to its security center to investigate.
- Sprint will send you an automated message asking for the sender’s number.
2. Report Unwanted Texts to the FTC and FCC
To report spam text messages to the FTC, visit its Complaint Assistant page. On the left-hand menu, select “Mobile Devices and Telephones,” then “Unwanted Text Messages.” You’ll be taken through a quick questionnaire about the message, what number sent it, etc.
You can also easily report spam texts to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). To do so, visit the Commissions’ Consumer Complaint Center. You’ll be asked to fill out a short form with your email address and information about the incident.
3. Add Your Number to the Do Not Call Registry
You can register your number on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry for free. Follow the link, then select “Register Your Phone.” Once your number has been registered for 31 days, you can report unwanted calls and texts. This step is more effective for spam calls, but certainly doesn’t hurt if you’re wanting to cut down on unsolicited texts, too.
4. Block or Report Spam on Your Phone
You can also deal with spam texts through your phone’s messaging app.
- Apple lets you block messages but not report them. Open the spam text within the Messages app, tap the contact number, then info, followed by the gray arrow on the upper right. Scroll down and select “Block this caller.”
- If you use an Android device, you can block and report the spam text. Open the Messages app. Select and hold down the message you want to report, hit “Block,” then “Report Spam,” and “OK.” Voila.
Avoid Sending Unwanted Text Messages With Textedly
Spam messages aside, texting is an effective way to reach and engage customers, seamlessly communicate with them and provide stellar customer service. So how do you make sure your customers aren’t taking the steps above with your messages?
To make sure your texts are compliant and inspire trust with your audience, use an SMS marketing platform like Textedly.
Textedly provides simple, easy-to-use and affordable SMS and MMS solutions for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. With dozens of features and friendly customer support, you can be confident your texts are always welcome, never annoying. To get started today, sign up for a free trial now!