What Are Spam Text Messages and How To Fight Them?
Spam text messages have become one of the recurring nuisances of the 21st century. The FBI reported that people lost around $57 million due to phishing/smishing and other schemes in 2019.
If you’ve always wondered what text spams are and how you can fight them if they happen to you, we can help you! Read on to see how you can protect yourself from text spam messages.
What Are Spam Text Messages?
Spam text messages are any unsolicited, unexpected text messages you get on your phone. They usually contain advertising content or—a much worse alternative—a call to action that makes the recipient reveal their personal information. The real annoyance here is that some recipients could be charged a fee for the messages they receive, without their consent or authorization.
It is illegal to send spam text messages according to the CAN-SPAM Act, so you have every right to report and fight them. To see how you can put an end to this menace, read on!
How To Recognize Spam Text Messages?
When a text message pops on your screen, you suppose it’s someone dear to you and open it with enthusiasm. How disappointed or irritated do you get when you realize that the text message you got is, in fact, spam?
How do you recognize a spam text message? Here are some ways to know for sure if you got spam:
- The message sounds too impersonal
- The number is spoofed
- The text has an urgent tone
- The offer seems too good to be true
- Content has some serious grammar and spelling errors
- The message states it’s not spam
Text Message Is Impersonal
If you get a message with a generic “Hello” instead of a more personal approach—like being addressed by your name—chances are, it’s spam.
The Number Is Spoofed
Sometimes your friend’s number or email account might get spoofed, and this makes spam texts even more dangerous.
Even if a message seemingly comes from someone you know or shows up in a group chat, you should be wary if it strikes you as odd or too formal. Avoid responding to the text or doing anything that the message instructs you to before you verify it with the person it supposedly comes from.
Message Sounds Urgent
The urgent tone of a spam text message is more than enough to make you act without thinking things through. It is an excellent trick scammers use to make you panic and click on a malicious link or reply fast.
Say you get a text that your bank account will be frozen if you don’t verify your identity immediately or, something that’s even more vile, that a member of your family is at the hospital or at a police station—your hasty reaction would be completely natural.
If this happens to you, try to stop yourself from panicking. Know that urgent matters will never be dealt with via text messages, so the odds are you’re being a target of someone’s outrageous scam!
Too-Good-To-Be-True Spam Texts
We’d all like to get a $10,000 deposit on our bank accounts out of the blue, but winning a prize—especially if you’ve never entered a contest—is impossible. This is yet another clever trick scammers use to con naive people into revealing their personal information.
This kind of smishing message will contain information about you winning a prize, but it will instruct you to leave your name, bank details, and signature. It might even redirect you to another site that will require you to give all this personal information and potentially wire funds, sign up to bogus websites, or send emails.
Never act on instructions provided by too-good-to-be-true messages!
Suspicious Typos and Grammar Mistakes
You get a text from Apple or Amazon—the most abused companies in all phishing scams—but you know deep down it’s wrong. It’s filled with grammar and spelling errors that a company of Apple’s and Amazon’s caliber wouldn’t allow.
If you notice spelling mistakes or unnatural language, ignore the text and contact the company via other channels to check whether the text is a potential scam and, if so, report it.
The Spam Text Hidden in Plain Sight
You get a spam text that says it’s not a spam text. It seems ridiculous and obvious, but some people tend to be trusting and unsuspecting. If you get a message from an unidentified sender that states it’s not spam—know that it most definitely is spam.
What Are Some Spam Text Messages Examples?
To fight spam text messages properly, you need to know what they look like. Find the examples in the following table:
Kinds of Spam Text Messages
|Examples of Spam Text Messages|
|Information about a prize||
“Congratulations! Your personal lottery-survey code is 72721. You’re in the first place. Check out your prize http://bla-bla-blas/tI4”
Fake refund pending
|“Netflix is sending you a refund of $12.99. Please reply with your bank account and routing number to verify and get your refund.”|
|IRS trying to contact you||
“Your IRS tax refund is pending acceptance. Please accept within 12 hours—urgent!
Fake verification of your bank account
|“SomeBank: Your account is temporarily frozen. Please log in to http://thisisafake.adress/spam to secure your account.”|
|Fake package delivery||
“Hello, your package with tracking code FA-KE-TRACKINGCODE-SPAM needs you to set your delivery preferences: blabla.fakeadress/goandgetscammed”
Family members in need
“Urgent! Your daughter has been arrested in Las Vegas. Send bail money, right now! Western Union Wire $10,000
If you engage with the sender in any way—whether it's replying to the message, following a link, or calling any number they provide—you expose yourself to the risk of information theft.
I Replied to a Spam Text—What Now?
Some people like to reply to spam text messages out of sheer fun or spite, but they, most likely, don’t know that responding to them causes an avalanche. You should never do it. By replying to suspicious messages, you will confirm that your phone number is valid, and it can be sold to other spammers. From that moment on, you’ll be bombarded with spam, and there’s a high risk they’ll try to:
- Gain your personal information
- Steal your identity
- Con you into giving them your money
- Get malware or a virus onto your phone
Don’t worry, though, because DoNotPay has got your back. With our robot lawyer app, you can stop text spam messages, report them, and get rid of them once and for all.
How To Stop Spam Texts With the Help of DoNotPay?
DoNotPay can help you fight spammers and scammers, and with our assistance, you’ll get your revenge on them! When your phone pings and you realize it’s a spam text message asking for your credit card information, open DoNotPay in any web browser and follow the steps below:
- Go to the Robo Revenge feature
- Acquire a free virtual credit card
- Give you virtual credit card information to the sender
The scammer will try to bill your credit card, but DoNotPay’s virtual credit cards contain no money—the scammer will get nothing. In addition, our app will unmask the sender's identity and gather their information, which you can use to file a claim against them in small claims court.
DoNotPay can help you report spam texts from:
What Other Kinds of Scams Are Out There?
To be on the safe side, see what other potential scams might come your way:
What Is It?
A robocall is a recorded message played to you when you answer your phone. Although some robocalls are legal, most of them are not—the illegal robocalls aim to extract your personal information, such as:
Spam emails are any unsolicited emails that include commercial and promotional content that you never agreed to receive. They’re prohibited by law, but it’s also illegal to send spam texts from email addresses, according to the CAN-Spam Act. Any email that is meant to trick you into revealing your sensitive information is called a phishing email, and you should report it right away!
With DoNotPay, You’ll Never Have To Worry About Administrative or Legal Issues Again
You can access DoNotPay in any web browser. We’ll help you with:
- Reporting text spam messages
- Contesting traffic citations
- Getting refunded by any company
- Managing bills you can't pay
- Reporting stalking and harassment
- Pulling a plug on spam mail for good
- Scheduling an appointment with the DMV in a flash
- Being refunded or compensated for delayed or canceled flights
- Disputing parking citations
- Discontinuing memberships and subscriptions
- Getting a customer service agent on the phone quickly
- Fighting robocalls
- Starting free trials without giving out personal and credit card info
- Bringing a legal battle to small claims court
- Solving credit card problems
- Appealing speeding tickets
- Applying for clinical trials
- Protecting your work with copyright