ADDISON (CBSDFW.COM) – We all get spam sent to our email accounts. But more and more often, scammers and even legitimate advertisers are bombarding consumers with unsolicited text messages on their cell phones.
“Spam is any kind of unsolicited mail,” said AT&T spokeswoman Alejandra Arango. “Sometimes there’s fine print and customers don’t realize that when they agreed to get something it comes attached with a couple other things.”
“It is a big deal,” said Jeff Farr, CEO of Addison technology consultant Farr Systems. “It’s either advertising or, much more often, it’s identity theft.”
Last summer a text messaging research company said 68-percent of the U.S. population is affected by text messaging spam.
Preventing spam from reaching your phone is fairly easy, experts said. The number one rule is never respond.
“The objective is to get you to interact because if you interact you are validating that you have a real number and they actually found a person,” Farr explained, “so they’re fishing.”
Most cell phones now have built-in spyware, but occasionally unwanted spam will get through the filter. That’s why service providers like Dallas-based AT&T are working to stop the message creators.
“We are aggressively fighting it in the courts,” Arango said, “and we’ve seen that has significantly helped reduce the amount of spam.”
Consumers can do their part as well. As soon as a spam message is received, forward it to 7726, which actually spells ‘spam’ on a dial pad. Your service provider will launch an investigation.
“Because we know it is such an issue for our customers and we want to deliver the best mobile experience we developed these tools,” Arango said.
“The other thing that the carriers have is probably the biggest tool,” Farr said. “a lot of them will allow you to block numbers.”
Depending on the carrier, features to individually block numbers may be free or available for a small charge.