“You’ll get $130 freebies to do a survey ELIZA,” the totally American English-sounding text reads. Every day, sometimes twice a day. They don’t even bothering masking the phishing link that doesn’t start with an Amazon URL. (Let alone getting my name right.)
As it turns out, it’s super easy to report SPAM text messages like these, so that your cell phone provider hopefully amasses enough info to catch the scammers behind them .
How to report spam texts to your mobile phone carrier
1. NEVER REPLY DIRECTLY. Not even to say “piss off” or “stop spamming me.” If you do, you’re just confirming that their message is reaching a real person on an active cell line. (Psst…tell your kids this, too.)
2. Copy the text of the spam message, being careful not to click the spam link.
3. Paste it in a new text, and send to SPAM (7726), regardless of your mobile provider.
iPhone users: You can also press and hold on the spam message, click “more” beneath the message, then click the “forward” arrow at the bottom right corner of your screen to forward message right to to SPAM.
Like Amazon would really write, “our resolution this year is not to be greedy.”
4. Next, forward the number to SPAM. You’ll get an automated reply from your carrier prompting you for this info. Go back to the original spam text and copy the number it came from.
(On an iPhone, you click info, then the > icon, which enables you to copy the number directly then paste.)
5. Bonus: Block the SPAM number. It probably won’t help since the number is likely spoofed anyway, but it makes me feel better.
It’s important to take care of this — text message spam is no different from email spam, in which scammers are trying to steal your personal info, maliciously slow your phone’s performance, or install malware to collect info that can lead to identity theft and other serious issues.
How to report spam texts to the FTC
If you happen to click the phishing link then closed it, you are most likely fine — but if you’ve entered any information or “logged in,” you need to take things to the next level.
In addition to logging off, and immediately changing your password from another device (plus scanning for malware), report the incident to the FCC through this link, which has a dedicated section for Rip-Offs and Imposter Scams.
Just click the appropriate subcategory, and submit your info.
They’re not going to follow-up with the FBI for you personally, so don’t expect any knocks at the door, but your complaint can help if federal law enforcement is already pursing a case or considering opening one.
Just be aware: If you’re getting lots of texts from say, your bank or other financial institution, a political candidate your’e donated to, or a not-for-profit, this is not spam; they’re in fact exempt from the CAN-SPAM Act because you have done business with them.
Don’t waste time reporting “spam” that isn’t actually fraudulent; your best bet is to ask the company or organization directly to stop contacting you.
Top pphoto by Azat Satlykov on Unsplash