Don’t just ignore those text message scams. Here’s how to stop them

It does not matter what sort of phone you utilize, all of us obtain rip-off and spam textual content messages. 


Angela Lang/CNET

Spam textual content messages are extra than simply annoying reminders we obtain a few free milkshake at an area restaurant. They have the potential to be just as intrusive as the robocalls that bombard us daily.

Perhaps you’ve got acquired a message saying you’ve got received a visit or a warning that your iCloud account has been hacked. Those messages are an try to trick you into offering private or account info to hackers, who will then use it to take over your phone number or entry your on-line accounts. 

Here’s what you are able to do once you obtain rip-off spam, in addition to some recommendation about what to not do. 

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Don’t open any hyperlinks

Scammers are tough. They’ll ship messages that seem like from a reliable firm, akin to your wi-fi service, and embody a hyperlink asking you to confirm your account info. The hyperlink then takes you to a website which will look actual, however in actuality, it is faux and it is amassing your username, password and different private info for future use. 

If you obtain an surprising message that features a hyperlink, don’t open it. If you occur to open it, don’t enter any account or private info. 

Look at this faux Verizon website that is presently being utilized in phishing makes an attempt, as lined by How To Geek. The website appears actual and even redirects to the official Verizon website after the nefarious actors have your account credentials. Scary stuff. 

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Don’t click on on hyperlinks in spam messages, and perform a little research earlier than replying cease.


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Do analysis earlier than replying with ‘STOP’

One frequent methodology to opt-out of receiving non-nefarious spam texts (like that restaurant providing the free milkshake) is to answer to the message with “STOP.” It’s a fast and straightforward option to finish messages from every thing from a political marketing campaign to your web service supplier. 

But scammers use this similar instrument to trick you into replying to their messages, in flip letting them know that your phone quantity is legitimate and one they’ll goal with extra messages or robocalls. 

Instead of rapidly replying STOP to an unsolicited message, take a number of seconds to search for the quantity to see if a acknowledged group or enterprise makes use of it for textual content messages. 

I verified Comcast’s quantity, for instance, by looking for “text from 266278” after receiving a message a number of weeks in the past asking if I wished updates about an outage in my space. Indeed, the number I received the message from matched a quantity Comcast lists on its assist web page. 

If you confirm {that a} quantity is legitimate, reply with STOP to take away your self from their distribution record. 

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Report rip-off messages to your service. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Report a nasty message to your service

If you possibly can’t confirm who despatched a message, or it is clearly a rip-off, you possibly can ahead the message to 7726 (it spells “spam” on a phone’s keypad). 

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon all settle for spam reviews by means of this quantity. You might obtain a follow-up message after reporting a message, asking for extra info or to verify the quantity the unique message was despatched from. 

Some carriers, such as Sprint, will even block the quantity from messaging you after you’ve got reported it. 

Use your phone’s built-in blocking instrument

Another possibility is to dam the quantity your self. Both iOS and Android have built-in instruments to dam messages and calls from particular numbers. 

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You can all the time block the quantity. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

iPhone customers

On an iPhone, open the message within the Messages app and faucet on the profile picture on the prime, then faucet on the Info button. On the following display, faucet on the phone quantity adopted by Block this Caller on the backside of the following display. 

Following these steps will block the quantity from each messaging and calling you. 

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Google Messages will take further steps to research and establish spam. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Android customers

As is normally the case with Android phones, the method to dam a quantity will range relying on who makes your phone and which message app you are utilizing. 

If you are utilizing Google’s Messages app, begin by opening the spam message and tapping on the menu button within the top-right nook and deciding on Details from the record of choices. On the next display, choose Block & report spam adopted by OK. The Messages app will ship the quantity and the 10 earlier messages from it to Google for evaluation to enhance future spam detection. Your replies to the quantity will not be despatched to Google. If you’d reasonably simply block the quantity, uncheck the field subsequent to “Report spam” earlier than tapping OK

Samsung Messages customers might want to open the dialog, faucet on the three-dot menu within the top-right nook, then choose Block quantity > Block

Samsung Galaxy S20

If you’re routinely aggravated, file a report with the FCC. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

File a grievance with the FCC

If you wish to assist fight present and future spam messages, and also you’re within the US, you possibly can file a grievance with the Federal Communications Commission everytime you obtain a message that falls into considered one of these three classes: 

  • An unsolicited industrial textual content message
  • An automated message despatched to your phone with out your prior consent
  • An automated message from a telecommunications firm, or one other firm promoting a telecommunications firm’s services or products despatched with out your prior consent

Visit this site to file a complaint with the FCC. It will not instantly cease messages from arriving in your phone, however it is going to no less than assist the FCC monitor down unhealthy actors.

Just as you do not have to cope with spam messages, you do not have to cope with robocalls both. You will not be capable of put an finish to them for good, however you can at least cut back on the number of times your phone rings.

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