I am getting spam text messages, what can I do?

Nobody wants to have their phones, computers or homes bombarded with unsolicited junk mail or spam. As reputable providers of mobile messaging services, we are strongly against spam and work tirelessly to make sure our customers know the regulations and abide by the rules, keeping consumers safer from unwanted mobile traffic. With this in mind, here is our guide to help you keep your phone free from SMS spam.

The first thing to do when you receive a message you don’t want or didn’t sign up for, is to see if you recognise the company or not. If you know the company, then look to see if they have provided an opt-out path in the message – this might look like ‘Text TLSTOP to 60777’ or could involve sending an email or calling them. Most reputable companies will regularly include opt-out paths in their marketing messages, but in case they don’t, you should be able to contact them directly to have your number unsubscribed.

If you don’t recognise the company, or they haven’t identified themselves, texting them with ‘STOP’ or a similar reply could actually cause you more problems. Unscrupulous companies have been known to randomly generate phone numbers to target with messages, testing to see if any are active and can be sold on to other companies. Common types of messages sent with this aim include PPI & accident claims, and texts purporting to be from your friends (source: https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/texts/).

The good news about these types of messages is that they most likely don’t hold any information on you – they’re just stringing numbers together in the hopes of striking lucky. In a landmark case in 2012, a pair of SMS spammers responsible for millions of unwanted messages were fined £440,000 (source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20528301).

Messages like this aren’t sent through platforms like Textlocal’s Messenger. We have stringent anti-spam procedures that stop spammers like these in their tracks. The normal routes for SMS spammers are ‘SIM farms’, large banks of unregistered SIM cards, often with free text offers from networks, that are hooked up to computers and used to churn out unwanted messages until the networks cut them off. These means that the numbers they come from change often, sometimes daily, making it hard for you to block them from your phone.

Official advice from Ofcom and the ICO tells you to forward these messages on to your network provider by sending them to ‘7726’ – spelling out ‘SPAM’ on your phone’s keypad.

Here at Textlocal we have a range of measures in place to prevent our customers crossing the spam line. Aside from the extensive resources we have available to educate our clients, we make it easy for people to include an opt-out path in every message they send, without costing them a penny. We automatically sort any opt-out messages received into a separate folder, preventing the user from contacting that number again, but keeping it visible so they can update their databases with contact preferences.

For more information on how you can keep your messages spam free, download our free guide ‘Swimming Against the Spam’ here.