Robocalls (or spam calls) have been around a long time. While these calls are a nuisance, what we are seeing more of now are spam “texts.” Spam texts can be extremely malicious.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, “It’s illegal to send unsolicited commercial messages to wireless devices, including cell phones and pagers, unless the sender gets your permission first.” The same goes for text messages sent from an auto-dialer. (This applies to your organization also, so be sure you comply with FTC guidelines.)
Steve Anderson, one of the leading authorities on insurance technology, shares how you should respond to a spam text.
What Not to Do with Spam Texts
Anderson advises that you should never respond with the words: STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE.
Have you ever replied to a text message with either of these messages? For a legitimate business, those words will tell them you want to stop receiving the texts.
But if you think the text is a spam message, you should never respond with these words. Spammers are hitting up thousands of people in search of working contact information. When you interact, you’re saying, “Yes, this phone number belongs to someone!” That’s great news for them. It lets them know you’re a real person they should target more often. You think you’re putting an end to the noise, but you’ll just make it worse.
What to Do with Spam Texts: Report the Message
Whether you use Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, or AT&T, you can easily report the message as spam. All of the major carriers use a central database to identify spam senders. You forward your spam message to 7726, and it will be added.
Here is how:
Follow these steps if you have an iPhone:
- Find the spam message. Press down on it until a new menu pops up.
- Press More in the lower right. Then, tap on the arrow icon.
- Now you’ll see a forwarded message. Tap on the “to” field. Then, enter 7726 and send the message.
Here’s what to do if you have an Android:
- Hold down on the spam message.
- Hit the forward arrow.
- Send the message to 7726.
By forwarding these messages, you’re helping carriers recognize that number as malicious. And, eventually, they might be able to block that number from sending further messages. If you want to go above and beyond the call of duty, you could contact the FTC and file a formal complaint. While this requires more time and effort, it’s an excellent way to fight against spammers.