These days, there may be nothing more objectionable than those creepy unsolicited text messages that show up on our phones.
It’s bad enough that some cellphone users are incurring charges for these incoming texts. Adding insult to injury is the fact that many of these texts are flat out scams attempting to lure you into providing sensitive personal and financial information.
So sorry to say that the promised $1,000 Walmart gift card won’t ever make its way to your wallet, and you haven’t won that free I-Pad 3 (or is it 4, 5)?
When you get these dastardly messages, there’s now an easy way to report them to your cellphone provider. CNN reports that the major North American wireless carriers recently deployed a centralized spam-reporting service which collects information about spam complaints from all participating carriers into a common database. This makes it easier for carriers to identify spammers and, where possible, take action.
Here’s all you need to do. When you receive a spam text message on your phone, forward that text to the “shortcode” number 7726 (which spells “SPAM”). You’ll receive an automated message from your wireless carrier, asking you to enter the phone number from which the spam text was sent.
Here’s another neat feature of the service. It will determine if the spam was sent from a “shortcode” or from a regular phone number. Those from shortcodes are highly regulated by the federal government, with violators subject to large fines. Accordingly, the service will advise you to reply “stop” to these messages, which are annoying, but likely not scammy. If the spam comes from a phone number, which is far more likely to be a scam, you’ll be asked to report it and advised how to block calls from that number in the future. (Of course, the scammers probably switch numbers frequently). You won’t want to text “stop” because that will alert the scammers that yours is an active cellphone number.
You won’t know if your input will put anyone behind bars, but you’ll at least have the cathartic pleasure of knowing you’re fighting back.
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