2/8/12
1:00 pm

Forum Question: Is It Helpful To Reply STOP To a Spam Text Message?

This question is not unique to iPhone users, but is of concern to all smartphone users.
What are some of the best ways to fight text message spam on smart phones?
In particular, do you think it is helpful to reply STOP to a spam text message? Verizon customer service representatives have recommended that I do this, and perhaps it does block future text spam from the same source, but of course I am concerned that it would only encourage the spammer to send more spam.
Gary, and forum readers, what is your take on this?
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Richard Fuhr

Comments: 6 Responses to “Is It Helpful To Reply STOP To a Spam Text Message?”

    2/8/12 @ 1:15 pm

    Replying STOP to a text message is only useful if the message is from a legitimate source that has somehow added you to their distribution lists. Perhaps you signed up without realizing it, or signed up and now simply no longer want the messages. Or, perhaps the company texting you was sold bad information telling them that you really wanted the text messages — a case where the company wants to do right, but they were mislead by a vendor who said a text messaging list was legitimate.
    But for true spam/junk text messages, STOP will do nothing. The sender of the message most likely never gets those, or will ignore them if they do. On the other hand I don’t think it encourages more spam for the same reason — they aren’t paying attention to them.
    I don’t believe that Verizon has any other way to deal with spam, though. I know AT&T has something you can do — forward the message to 7726. See http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=KB115812
    This doesn’t “block” the sender, but I can imagine that if they get a few of these they might block the sender completely from their network. That doesn’t prevent the sender from spamming you from another number, though.
    That page also points out that you can and should block text messages originating from email. That is where a lot of the spam comes from, since it is free to send those. I think all carriers have a switch on your account that you can flip for that.
    It appears that Sprint may have some text message blocking functionality. Some posts around the web report that forwarding to abuse@messaging.sprintpcs.com does something. And there is some talk of a way to block numbers in your Sprint account.

    Richard Fuhr
    2/8/12 @ 1:21 pm

    Thanks, Gary. Interesting that you mentioned the forward-to-7726 option. Just yesterday, at our local Apple Store, I learned that Verizon now also has the capability ( added recently ) to have spam text messages forwarded to 7726. However, no Verizon representative that I talked with ever told me about that 7726 option; it was only thanks to an Apple representative that I learned about it. I tried it, and it worked.

    J M Landwermeyer
    2/9/12 @ 12:02 am

    Actually, replying STOP to spam does do something – it validates an address, and can lead to that address being sold to other spammers.

    Which is more valuable to a spammer, validated addresses or having to send bulk messages to random addresses hoping they get through?

    It’s much better to report/forward spam to service providers, so they can block them from bothering us at all.

      2/9/12 @ 7:39 am

      What I’m saying is that while this sounds like good reasoning, the spammers are not that sophisticated. If they spam 1 million addresses one day, they are not going to but a whole system in place to narrow that down. They’ll just spam 1 million the next day too.

    Christopher Malaney
    2/21/12 @ 1:32 am

    Just to tell you of an article I read where they are going to have a list that you can sign up for (like the no call list) it will be a list for cell phones where it is a no call and text list. Until then you can put your cell phone on the do not call registry and make complaints. Here are some articles that I got my infer from.

    http://www.fcc.gov/guides/spam-unwanted-text-messages-and-email
    http://www.smsdnc.com/

    Nancy
    6/29/12 @ 11:23 am

    Just got the Best Buy $1000 text scam and did what Gary & Richard said by forwarding to 7726 (I have Verizon). It worked with quick reply message to give them the number that called and also to go to the Verizon website to block that number (blocking limited to 5 numbers and only temporary for 90 days). Makes me feel better.

Comments Closed.