Spam text messages are annoying. They clutter up your phone, interrupt you when you’re busy, and make your alerts go off at inopportune times. They are about as welcome as robocalls or spam emails.
Most spam text messages don’t even come from other phones. They typically come from a computer and are delivered to your phone through an email service or instant messaging account. Most spam texts are actually illegal — by law, senders must have your permission to send commercial texts to your phone.
Spam text messages often promise something that’s too good to be true. These texts say things like you just need to click a link, and you’ll get weight loss secrets, a free vacation, a month’s credit on your cell phone bill, or countless other benefits. Sounds great, right? No. These promises are just veiled attempts to steal your personal information.
Everyone with a cellphone has received a spam text at some point, and if you don’t know what to do, you are not alone. This guide explains the dangers of spam text messages and offers tips and strategies on how to stop these messages from coming to your phone.
Why Spam Text Messages Can Be Dangerous
An annoying message can be deleted with a quick swipe on your phone, but that doesn’t mean spam is safe and convenient. Spam texts can pose a lot of dangers. Here are the top three.
Spam Text Messages Can Be Phishing Scams
Many spam text messages are phishing scams. The message, for example, may say “click here to learn about a free month’s credit on your cellphone.” The recipient clicks the link and gets directed to a page that looks like the sign-in for their cellphone account, but it’s actually a phishing site created by a scam artist.
These types of scams often prompt the recipient for their account name, password, and an additional piece of security verification. When the scam artist has all the information they need, they take over the cellphone account and transfer the service to a phone in another country. This is just one example of a phishing scam, but they all include a thief “fishing” for information.
Links May Contain Malware
Links that contain malware don’t require the user to enter any information. The link downloads malware to the phone when the recipient clicks it, and then the malware steals information off the phone.
Some malware tracks the entries you make into any app on your phone, allowing it to steal sign-in details for all your bank, credit card, and email accounts.
Spam Texts Can Cost You Money
People who don’t have unlimited texting may incur fees when they receive spam text messages. These fees can add up. This is why there are laws against sending unsolicited texts.
Unsolicited texts often look like they’re coming from a legitimate business or even the government. Keep in mind that these entities don’t send unsolicited texts, and they generally don’t ask for information over text. Google the number or call the company directly if you think the text may be legitimate.
What to Do With Spam Text Messages
A spam text message is on your phone. It lets you know that you just need to click, and you can find beautiful dates, low-cost vacations, and extended car warranties. What should you do with this message? How can you protect yourself? Here are five essential tips to keep in mind.
1. Don’t Reply
Never reply to spam text messages. Don’t even reply “stop” like you do with unwanted commercial messages. Any response may give the spam artist confirmation that you own the phone.
2. Never Share Your Information
Never respond with private information to a spam message. This includes your financial details, but it also includes info hackers can use to commit identity theft, such as the name of your elementary school, your favorite pet, or other information commonly used in security questions.
3. Block the Number
Androids and iPhones both allow you to block messages. Select “info” on an iPhone or the three dots on an Android — both are located on the top right of the text message thread. Scroll through the options until you see “block caller” and click it. You can manage your blocked callers in settings.
Some carriers also allow you to block calls from unwanted numbers indefinitely or for a certain period of time. Call your carrier directly to see if this is an option.
4. Get on the Do Not Call Registry
Being on the Do Not Call registry will stop telemarketers and legitimate companies from contacting you. It won’t completely eliminate the risk of spam texts from bad actors, but it can reduce the chances of receiving these messages. Simply visit DoNotCall.Gov to get on the list.
5. Try an App
There are also apps you can use to block unwanted numbers. You may want to check out Nomorobo or RoboKiller. Both of these apps are set up to block spam calls from robo dialers. RoboKiller, in particular, also works to block spam text messages. They are accurate and let in robocalls from legitimate organizations like messages from your school or safety messages from companies like CodeRed.
Blocking numbers and using apps only provides a first layer of protection against spam text messages. The rest is up to you. You need to understand the risks of these messages and be diligent about not responding to them, and it’s essential to protect your personal information.
Contact Shred Cube to Tighten Your Security
Deleting spam text messages or files from your computer doesn’t truly eliminate the data. It stays in the device where hackers or criminals can continue to access it. Shred Cube ensures the files you delete are gone for good.
You plug our USB file shredder into your computer, and it protects you by shredding and fully erasing the data. Contact us today at Shred Cube to learn how we can help protect you, your computer, your personal information, your business, and more from cybercrime and data theft.