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You listen to the sound of an incoming text message and look at your phone excitedly, thinking that the message could be from a friend or family member. But no, it is an automated text, a junk message sent to you by a spammer who wants to trick you into clicking a link, opening an attachment, calling a number, or doing something else that is likely to cause you problems.
Robotic texting and spam messages are a reality, as are robocalls and spam emails. However, that doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. Like spam calls, you can block and stop robotexts with the right tricks and tools. Since you can largely ignore them, robotexts may not be as intrusive as robocalls, but that doesn’t mean these types of texts are harmless. Depending on your mobile phone plan, you may be charged for incoming text messages, so there is already a financial burden. And then it can get even more dangerous if you’re not careful.
Clicking a link or an attachment in a spam message can trigger malicious software that infects your phone. And if you have already replied to a spam message, even if only by mistake, your phone number has probably been marked as valid and passed on to other scammers, increasing the likelihood that you will receive more spam messages. So how can you deal with bot texting and spam messages? There are a few ways.
How to prevent spam messages from reaching your smartphone
Don’t reply to unwanted text messages
- You are probably familiar with how legitimate sources allow you to opt out of receiving text communications in the future by replying “STOP”. Many spammers offer you the option to reply with STOP, but don’t do it.
- Spammers use your reply, any reply, including STOP, as a sign that they received your message and that you are actively participating in your messages, which may encourage them to send you more messages. Your information may also be sold to other spammers looking for “verified active” phone numbers.
Report spammers to your mobile phone provider
- One way to counteract spam text messages is to report spam text messages directly to your telephone service provider. For most major carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, you can copy the offending message and text it to 7726.
- You should receive a response which, according to the operator, could include a request to send the phone number the spam is coming from. This probably won’t result in instant results for you, but it will help clean up the texting ecosystem for everyone.
Filter potential spammers
- Most phones have a setting to automatically filter potential spam messages so that they don’t appear on the same list with important and legitimate texts from known contacts.
- On an iPhone, open the Settings app and tap “Messages.” Scroll down and enable “Filter Unknown Senders” by sliding the button to the right.
- On Android, open the Messaging app and tap on the three dots in the upper right. In the drop-down menu, choose “Settings” and then tap “Spam Protection”. Finally, activate “Enable spam protection” by sliding the button to the right.
Block specific spammers
- If you get frequent spam from the same phone number, you can use your messaging app to block that number. However, don’t count on this help in all situations, as most spammers may appear to use a different number each time they contact you, so blocking individual numbers may have little effect.
- On an iPhone, open the junk text and tap the user icon at the top of the page, then tap “information.” On the next page, touch “information” again, and then touch “Block this caller.”
- On Android, the process may vary depending on the messaging app you’re using, but in general, you can tap the three dots at the top of the message and choose “Block number” from the drop-down menu.
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