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Tech Check: Get text message spam? Here are the dos and don’ts

Tech Check: Get text message spam? Here are the dos and don’ts

by Doug Delony

khou.com

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 19 at 1:53 PM

HOUSTON – There’s no escaping spam, whether it be by e-mail or SMS text message.

For some reason text (or SMS) spam always seems to come in around 2 a.m. – perhaps because it originates from somewhere overseas where it’s daylight. The rude awakening often leaves you angered, and the first thing you want to do is text back a message similar to, “YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF FTC AND MOBILE CARRIER REGULATIONS etc…” but don’t do this!

Here’s a quick list of do’s and don’ts:

DO
>> Use the “forward” functionality in your phone to send the text message to 7726 (or “SPAM”). This is the easiest way you can report the spam to (most) mobile carriers. Your mobile carrier will usually respond with a confirmation, asking for the phone number that sent you the spam.
>> File a complaint with the FCC on their website: http://www.fcc.gov/complaints (you can do this for e-mail too)
>> Check with your mobile provider on options to block text messages (or text messages entirely if you don’t want them)
>> Use Google to search for the phone number that sent the message. If you see the number is associated with a legitimate company or large corporation, contact them directly and have yourself removed from the list. (Good luck with this – most text message spam comes from shady, hard-to-trace numbers.)

DON’T
>> Do not respond to the text message at all. By doing this it will confirm to the sender that the number they have for you is a real cell phone number, and they love that, which in turn will likely lead to more spam.
>> Don’t expect a response from the FCC or your mobile carrier if you file a complaint. They likely are overrun with reports, so you can only hope that by reporting the spam it may help with a bigger investigation.
>> When possible, avoid giving out your mobile phone number when signing up for contests, giveaways, etc. that are offered by unknown companies and third-parties that do not offer a privacy policy.

More info from the FCC: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/spam-unwanted-text-messages-and-email

Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out to Doug on Facebook (facebook.com/KHOUDougDelony) or Twitter (@DougDelonyKHOU)

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