In this age of information overload and spam messages, even your personal phone isn't safe! Text message spam is on the rise, as some estimates put the number of spam SMS messages over 4 billion a year!
While SMS spam has existed for years, it’s only now becoming more prevalent as new technology has made it both cheap and easy to send these messages. In this blog we will cover what spam texts are, their legality, and what you can do to help reduce them. Let’s get started!
Spam Texts - What they are
Spam texts are a form of spam that are sent to a large number of recipients via text messaging, most of which have never signed up or show an interest in receiving that type of message. Most spam text messages are also illegal, as the FCC has stated that unsolicited messages cannot be sent to your phone unless the sender has your permission to receive messages. This applies to auto-dialers as well, as they are not allowed to send text messages either.
There is an exception to the FCC regulations regarding spam text messages. If a company has done transactions or has interacted with you and gotten permission to text you, it can send you messages as long as they allow you to opt out of receiving them. Spammers disregard the law and don't allow you to opt out, so they are going against regulations and won't honor you requests to opt out.
How Spam Can Be Dangerous
Spam isn't only annoying, it can also be an invasion of your privacy. Spam texts are problematic because they allow spammers to see if the number they are calling has a real human behind it, so the strategy of replying “STOP” to their messages actually gives them more information about you.
They are also dangerous because they can target vulnerable people like the elderly, or even teenagers. When these text scams promise things like free stuff or product promotions, they will then ask those who respond to these messages for things like their credit card number or other personal information.
And finally, spam text can actually cost you money! Depending on your wireless carrier, you may be charged for receiving a text message, and while this charge may be small, if dozens or hundreds of these occur it can really add up!
What to do about Spam Texts
Sadly, there often isn't a method to this text messaging madness. Spam texters use auto-dialers to send spam messages to hundreds and thousands of phone numbers, and yours just happened to be on the list. Fortunately, there are a few ways to see if you are a big spam target. Here’s how:
Check your social media accounts. Make sure your number isn't listed anywhere, as spammers can “scrape” or steal this data in order to add it to their spam lists.
Google your phone number and see if it is listed anywhere. You never know if an old social media account or webpage has your number on it.
The fine print in forms that you fill out can often be misleading and may allow business to sell your phone number. Make sure to read it!
Don’t reply to spam! Several mobile providers allow you to block the sender by forwarding unwanted texts to 7726 (or "SPAM"). Check with your provider to learn more.
Place your number on the National Do Not Call registry.
Are you looking to get into SMS marketing? Our experts can walk you through the best ways to stay compliant with messaging laws and get your messages to your customers effectively. Contact us today!