How to Stop SMS Text Spam and How to Report SMS Txt Msg Spam

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If you’re being plagued by cell text message spam (cell phone spam or mobile phone spam) like this one we received from 702-541-4047 – “Do you have $20,000+ in CREDIT CARD DEBT? Our national program REDUCES it by HALF! Reply “DEBT” to see if you qualify! (cuturdebts.com-optout,reply:out)” – you’re not alone. (What does SMS stand for? Short Message Service – SMS service is a way to send short text messages directly to a cell phone). The problem is that those unwanted SMS messages that you see as cell phone spam, the sender sees as an SMS campaign. Those rude text messages – often anonymous SMS text messages – are bulk SMS messaging sent by the SMS sender as a text message advertising campaign (often facilitated by free SMS text message services that allow the SMS sender to send anonymous text messages). It’s illegal to send SMS text spam in most states, but figuring out how to go about reporting spam received on your cell phone can be tough. Here’s how to submit your spam that you receive via SMS text message to the right authorities, as well as how to stop it.

It’s important to understand one little-known ‘feature’ of SMS cell phone spam – the vast majority of it is actually sent from the Internet, spamming the email-to-cellphone text messaging gateways that nearly every cell phone carrier maintains. What this means is that your cellphone has an email address, and if people know the magic addressing formula, people can send text message via email to your cell phone. For example, if you are an AT&T customer, your cell phone’s email address is:

your-10-digit-phone-number@txt.att.net


 

Similarly, if your carrier is Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Nextel, your phone’s email address is:

your-10-digit-phone-number@vtext.com
your -10-digit-phone-number@tmomail.net
your -10-digit-phone-number@messaging.sprintpcs.com
your -10-digit-phone-number@messaging.nextel.com

…respectively.


 

Once understanding this, you can go about defeating text message spam a couple of different ways.

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How to Stop SMS Text Spam and How to Report SMS Txt Msg Spam

You can simply block all text messaging, which is what most front-line cell phone service customer service representatives (CSRs) will suggest up front. But as more and more people have given in to text messaging as a form of instant communications with family, friends, and even colleagues, that is not always a terribly practical way to go.

But there’s another way.

At least some cell phone providers offer the option to block only text messages that come from the Internet, and as the vast majority of cell phone text message spam comes via these Internet email-to-mobile phone gateways, blocking just Internet-to-cell text messages will reduce the amount of SMS spam you receive to a tiny fraction of its former self.

Both AT&T and Verizon offer this service. At the time of this writing, Sprint and T-Mobile don’t offer a wholesale “no text messages from the Internet”, but they do offer ways to deal with text messages that originate on the Internet.

So, call your cell provider and ask them how you can stop receiving text message that are sent via the Internet. Here are the customer service numbers for the major providers in the U.S., but if you’re outside of the U.S., or have another U.S. provider, by all means you should call them and ask if they offer such a service:

AT&T Customer Service: 800-888-7600
T-Mobile Customer Service: 800-866-2453
Verizon Customer Service: 800-275-2355
Sprint Customer Service: 888-211-4727
Nextel Customer Service: 800-639-6111

Now, how to go about reporting that cell phone spam:

First and foremost, call your cell phone provider and complain, loudly, to them. And while you are doing so, ask for a credit for the text message received. Even if you don’t pay for the first X text messages you receive under your plan, ask for a credit so that the spam message doesn’t count towards X.

Next, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is tasked with both creating policy regarding, and policing, cell phone communications, including spam. And they have a special form online through which you can submit your SMS spam, here:

Report your cell phone spam here.

So, call your provider, file your report, and take back your phone!

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How to Stop SMS Text Spam and How to Report SMS Txt Msg Spam

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29 Replies to “How to Stop SMS Text Spam and How to Report SMS Txt Msg Spam”

  1. texting spam to SPAM (7726) – it is true – each of the 4 major carriers give instructions on their respective websites:

    http://www.wireless.att.com/support_static_files/KB/svc/documents/1220912515172.Anti-spam%20FAQ%20080707%20Consumer.pdf

    http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-2747

    http://community.sprint.com/baw/docs/DOC-2581

    http://www.bbb.org/blog/2012/04/how-to-block-unwanted-text-spam//

  2. Report SMS Spam by forwarding it to 7726, which is SPAM on the keypad. Unfortunately, it takes user complaints as one part to stop spam messages. By reporting SMS SPAM to 7726, the accounts can be quickly shutoff. This works for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon and perhaps other US carriers.

  3. DON’T BOTHER CALLING AT&T…spent 40 min on phone with them and their only answer was reply STOP to texts and submit a complaint to FCC. I went to their website and easily found the information on blocking texts from emails, same info Arno gave in 2/18/12 comment. It was easy.

  4. ATT and Verizon have web pages where you can set if you can get texts from the internet and other places. For ATT, it’s and Verizon it’s . I found this in an article in the New York Times. I set my ATT phones to not get Email texts and now, I only get one or 2 text spams a month. Hasn’t eliminated the problem, but it has helped.

  5. Just hung up with AT&T to get this done. I recommend you do not ask for blocking of Internet-based messages but for blocking of email-based messages. At AT&T, they simply did not understand what I was talking about with Internet.
    They were very generous with refunding past message charges. I requested refund for about 25 messages ($5) and they actually refunded me $23!

  6. If you have a jailbroken iPhone. You can purchase the Cydia app iBlackList
    http://www.iblacklist.com.br/
    http://www.idevmobile.com/
    http://cydia.saurik.com/package/iblacklist
    It is a customizable filter for your iPhone. Phone Calls, SMS, Facetime, MMS, scheduling, Parental Controls etc…

  7. i dont wanna stop all msgs from the internet, sometimes people use email to sms my cell

    the suggestion to remove this feature wud prohibit that action, am i missing something?

    thx for your site

  8. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is useless (what a surprise).
    I have reported multiple times and there is some loop hole where the FCC can’t do anything about it.
    I received a letter back from them a while ago saying there is nothing they can do and they didn’t technical violate any law.

  9. FYI AT&T charges $4.95 per month per line for “smart plan” which enables you to block unwanted msgs yourself. That’s right now.

  10. I am from India. We have something called Vodafone, ace service provider and one of THE pathetic service provider so you can think how other are. Nobody care for the customers. No matter how many times you tell them, they are not concerned at all. I am looking for some apps and if that wont work. I will stop using mobile phone. For little comfort I dont want this nonsense.

  11. I called up VZW and the rep I spoke to was pretty clueless; he said there was no way to just block texts from the web.

    Then I went into my account and saw that the option is right there! “Block all text messages sent from the web.” and “Block all text messages sent from email.” on the Internet Spam Blocking tab.

  12. I had the idea late last year to tell Verizon about each spam and get credit. But they told me they no longer “give” credit after the first time anymore. I should start trying again, at least to give them the annoyance that costs them time and money talking to me.

    I have a feeling the cell companies like and reap reward from the spam, therefore they have NO incentive to control it officially.

    It will take a class-action to get the cell companies to crack down on it.

    Also, I tied up one of the spammers website hosting companies with a chat. They said, “Spam from one of our customers on your phone? You’ll have to contact the FCC, not us.” I replied, “You give them a home to spam, you’re going to be dragged into it, too. Whether you decide you can help or not.”

  13. Please note this detail from the FCC website: “The FCC’s ban covers messages sent to cell phones and pagers, if the message uses an Internet address that includes an Internet domain name (usually the part of the address after the individual or electronic mailbox name and the “@” symbol). The FCC’s ban does not cover “short messages,” typically sent from one mobile phone to another, that do not use an Internet address.”

  14. Sir my mobile no.9758786647 .I recive a message wom 700,0000and cotact this email id cocacolamobile7@hotmail.com

  15. getting text from 8014626934 – how can I stop these advertisements for $500 creditline and using HorizonCard4U.com code retcy??

  16. The number listed for Verizon went to Verizon landline. The Verizon Wireless number is 800-922-0204.

  17. If you’re on AT&T, you can forward the SMS spam you receive to 7726 (SPAM). You’ll get a reply asking for the phone number that sent you the spam; reply with the number that sent it. Messages to and from 7726 are free. More anti-spam info is at http://www.wireless.att.com/support_static_files/KB/svc/documents/1220912515172.Anti-spam%20FAQ%20080707%20Consumer.pdf.

  18. to eliminate unknown/unwanted people from sending you msgs to your cell via email, change your phone’s email address (go to your cell provider’s website to find out/do it)
    ie – if your phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx & your carrier is verizon, your phone’s email is xxx-xxx-xxxx@vtext.com
    change it to your name, for instance, if it’s Beth
    make your phone’s email
    Beth@vtext.com

  19. ATT changed their cust service number. I called the number mentioned in this article, and recieved a recorded message saying it was no longer in use. The new number is 1-800-331-0500

  20. My phone company does not have caller block services and I was asked to visit the police which may not speak English..

    Here is the list of the Egyptian psycho’s phone log. He is still calling me.

    This is the log of his phone calls.

    Received:
    +20117718273
    08:21pm – 20-03-2010
    08:18pm – 20-03-2010
    08:17pm – 20-03-2010
    06:16pm – 20-03-2010
    06:15pm – 20-03-2010
    06:14pm – 20-03-2010

    +20100793599
    04:37am 22-03-2010
    12:17am 21-03-2010
    12:17am 21-03-2010

    Missed:
    +20117718273
    06:46pm 26-03-2010
    11:02pm 22-03-2010
    09:48am 21-03-2010
    02:28am 21-03-2010
    12:41am 21-03-2010
    12:41am 21-03-2010
    12:17am 21-03-2010
    12:15am 21-03-2010
    12:13am 21-03-2010
    12:05am 21-03-2010

    +20100793599
    10:43pm – 22-03-2010
    04:33pm – 22-03-2010
    12:19am – 21-03-2010
    12:16am – 21-03-2010

  21. I got crazy guy calling in Arabic and limited English for more than 6 hours in one day – evening till 2am at night. The guy used 2 phone numbers and kept calling me almost once a 20 minutes and total of his call was about 30 times including 2 SMS I quoted below. He called me again in this morning before 9am.

    ?? ???? ????? ?? ?? ??? ?????? ? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?? ????”
    ok“
    +20117718273

    “Hello, good night really i like your voice and i hope to hear u again and know more about u like ur name and how old u are? Good night and good dream with angel my name is ahmed and my number is 0117718273”
    +20100793599

  22. To block email-based SMS messages, AT&T’s phone customer service directed me here:

    Note that they do not have an encrypted (HTTPS/SSL) registration form. I requested this on my support call.

  23. Thanks Anne. This is good info to have available. I’ve been lucky so far, but it can’t last forever.

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