Here's What You Can Do to Stop Cell Phone Spam

Getting spam emails is bad enough, but getting spam on your cell phone? Well that’s a whole new level of annoying. Last year, wireless users in the U.S. received more than 1.5 billion spam texts! One of the recipients was CNN contributor Elinor Mills. In fact, she got so fed up with getting junk texts that she called the four major wireless carriers to find out what they suggest their customers do about it. Here are the answers she got to her questions.

  • Why am I getting spam? Some people may unknowingly agree to receive text messages when they sign up for other services. For example, many free ringtone download sites are used to harvest mobile numbers. Since they don’t appear in public directories, you should be careful who you share your cell phone number with. Be wary of sites that promise to remove your number from spam lists - because they’re often set up to collect your number instead. Always read terms and conditions of sites and services carefully before giving out a mobile number.
  • Is this type of spam legal? Mills says there’s no explicit measure outlawing texted spam - yet. Measures in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate were introduced this year to rectify that. The m-SPAM Act would allow the government to take action against spammers, and would ban marketers from sending texts to any mobile number in the national Do Not Call registry.
  • How can I make it stop? Different carriers have different options that’ll help. For example, if you’re with AT&T, you can block text messages from a specific phone number on their website. Also with AT&T, you can reply to spam texts by typing in "BLOCK" or "STOP" to prevent future messages from that sender. If you’re with another carrier, call a customer service representative to find out what services they offer.

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