If you’ve received a spam text message, you’re not alone. More than 47 billion spam texts were sent through mid-2021, up 55% from the year before. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received about 14,000 text spam complaints in 2020 – up 146% from 2019.
Texting is a convenient method of communication. But, like any other form of sending and receiving messages, scammers have learned to use it to their advantage. A spam text is essentially any unwanted text message from an unknown sender. Apart from being annoying, it could also be from someone trying to steal your personal information (phishing).
Common spam text message examples include:
- Mass ads
- Fake package delivery notifications
- Questionable “special offers,” like low-interest credit cards
- Notifications that you’ve won a contest you never entered
- Messages from the IRS, other government entities or financial institutions asking you to verify information. Government agencies rarely initiate contact by phone or text.
- “Suspicious activity” notifications
Knowing how to deal with spam texts is an effective way to stop this annoying – and illegal – activity.
Thankfully, there are 4 simple ways to put an end to spam texts. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to report spam texts so that your mobile phone stays uncluttered and junk-free.
1. Forward the Unwanted Messages to 7726 (“SPAM”)
The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) has designated 7726 (which spells SPAM) as a number for reporting spam texts. Most major carriers in the U.S. are members of the GSMA, including hundreds of providers from all over the world.
To report a spam message, forward it to 7726. If you don’t have unlimited texting, this will never count against your plan.
How to Forward a Text on an Apple Phone
For Apple users, you’ll need to hold down the message. Then, once a menu pops up, select “More,” then the blue arrow on the bottom right.
After clicking the blue arrow, your message will appear as a new text. Type 7726 in the contact box and hit “Send.”
How to Forward a Text on an Android Phone
The process for Android users varies by hardware and SMS app. Still, you’ll need to hold down the message and select the “Forward” option. Your message will then appear as a new text. Type 7726 in the contact box and hit “Send.”
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. However, 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. While this is an extra step, 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 fraudulent text messages to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), visit their Complaint Assistant page. Click “Report Now” and select “Phone, internet, TV service,” then “Cellular or landline phone service,” then click the Continue button. It will take you through a quick questionnaire about the message, which number sent it, and so on.
You can also easily report junk texts to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). To do so, visit the Commission’s Consumer Complaint Center, then 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 stop unwanted text messages and phone calls by adding yourself to the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry. You can register your number for free in just a few short steps.
Follow the link, then select “Register Your Phone.” Once your number is 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 want to cut down on unsolicited texts.
4. Block or Report Spam on Your Phone
You can also deal with spam texts through the call blocking feature on your phone’s messaging app.
How to Filter and Block Spam Text Messages on an Apple Device
Apple lets you filter and block messages but not report them. To block unwanted numbers, follow these steps:
- Open the spam text within the Messages app
- Tap the contact number
- Tap “info” followed by the gray arrow on the upper right
- Scroll down and select “Block this caller”
How to Block and Report Spam Text Messages on an Android
If you use an Android device, you can both block and report inappropriate text messages. To block and report spam, follow these steps:
- Open the Messages app
- Select and hold down the message you want to report
- Hit “Block,” then “Report Spam,” and “OK.”
Spam Texting DOs and DON’Ts
- DON’T reply to any suspicious message directly. Once a scammer knows your number is legitimate, you’ll only be bombarded with more spammy messages.
- DON’T click on a link in a spam text. You’ll often be asked to provide personal information – exactly what spammers need to keep pestering you, hack into your accounts, steal your identity or install malware on your phone.
- DON’T be a spammer yourself! Spam text messages are a legal no-no. According to the (FTC), it’s illegal to send unsolicited commercial messages unless you first receive permission. If you send messages from an auto-dialer that randomly selects phone numbers, that’s spam, too.
- DO respond to texts that you’ve opted in to. Text messages from a business or messages related to fundraising or political surveys are not spam.
- DO follow the above steps to report spam text messages. Knowing how to report spam text messages is a critical step in stopping criminal behavior.
Learn more about opt-in text messaging rules.
Avoid Sending Unwanted Text Messages With Textedly
Spam messages aside, texting reaches and engages customers, seamlessly communicates with them, and provides stellar customer service. So how do you ensure your customers aren’t taking the steps above with your messages?
To ensure 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 industries. With dozens of features and friendly customer support, you can be confident that your texts are always welcome, never annoying.
To get started today, sign up for a free trial!