- You can minimize and take steps to stop the spam text messages you receive on your cellular device in a number of ways.
- Don’t ever engage with spammers, even to text a STOP request; instead, you can report them to your phone carrier or use tools on your phone to filter or block them.
- If necessary, you can buy an app that can help block spam texts as well, though it will only be effective while you pay for a subscription to it.
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Unwanted text messages, while generally not as annoying as telemarketing calls, can be very irritating.
Not only do spam texts clutter your messaging app’s inbox and distract you with nonsense notifications, but if you don’t have unlimited texting with your cellular plan, you might be paying for junk. And some spam messages contain links to potentially dangerous malware.
It pays to try to stop – or at least minimize – spam texts when possible.
How to stop spam texts
Here are five steps you can take to filter or block spammers from reaching your messaging app’s inbox.
Don’t respond to unwanted messages
You’re probably familiar with the way legitimate sources let you opt out of future text communication by replying “STOP.” Many spammers offer you the option to respond with STOP as well, but don’t. Spammers use your reply – any reply, including STOP – as a signal that you received your message and are actively engaged in your messages, so that can embolden them to send you more messages. Your information can also be sold to other spammers who are looking for “verified active” phone numbers.
Report spammers to your cellular provider
One way to counter spam texts is by reporting unwanted texters directly to your phone service provider. For most major carriers — including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon — you can copy the offending message and text it to 7726. You should receive a reply, which, depending on the carrier, might include a request to send the phone number that the spam came from. This probably won’t result in instant results for you, but it will contribute to cleaning up the texting ecosystem for everyone.
Filter potential spammers
Most phones have a setting to automatically filter potential spam messages so that they don’t appear in the same list with important, legitimate texts from known contacts.
- On an iPhone, start the Settings app and tap “Messages.” Scroll down and turn on “Filter Unknown Senders” by swiping the button to the right.
- On Android, start the Messaging app and tap the three dots at the top right. In the dropdown menu, choose “Settings,” and then tap “Spam Protection.” Finally, turn on “Enable spam protection” by swiping the button to the right.
Block specific spammers
If you get frequent spam from the same phone number, you can use your messaging app to block that number. Don’t count on this helping in every situation, though, because most spammers can appear to use a different number each time they reach out to you, so blocking individual numbers may have little effect.
- On an iPhone, open the message and tap the user icon at the top of the page, then tap “info.” On the next page tap “info” again, and then tap “Block this Caller.”
- On Android, the process may vary depending on the messaging app you’re using, but in general, you can tap the three dots at the top of the message and choose “Block number” from the dropdown menu.
Use a paid text-blocking app
Hopefully, some combination of the previous tips dramatically reduces the number of spam messages you receive. If you need additional assistance, though, you can turn to an app designed to block spam. An app like RoboKiller, available for both iPhone and Android, can dramatically reduce the spam you receive, both in the form of phone calls and text messages. These apps aren’t free, though. RoboKiller has a 7-day free trial, and then costs either $5 per month or $40 per year.