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5 Hacks to Combat Text Message Spam

Yesterday I got a text from a political candidate running for office. While the text didn’t ask me to click a link or offer anything for free, it was unwanted and I don’t remember signing up or giving out my cell phone for these purposes. It felt like an unsolicited text.

It’s illegal to send unsolicited commercial email messages to wireless devices, including cell phones and pagers, unless the sender gets your permission first. It’s also illegal to send unsolicited text messages from an auto-dialer — equipment that stores and dials phone numbers using a random or sequential number generator.

There are a few exceptions to the law:

  • Transactional or relationship messages. If a company has a relationship with you, it can send you things like statements or warranty information.
  • Non-commercial messages. This includes political surveys or fundraising messages.

If you are receiving unwanted text messages here are a few tips to combat the spam.

1.Do not respond and delete text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information.

Legitimate companies will never ask for information like your account numbers or passwords by email or text. Treat your personal information like you would cash. Your Social Security number, credit card numbers, and bank and utility account numbers can be used to steal your money or to open new accounts in your name. Never give them out in response to a text.

First Southern will never ask for your Online Banking username or password, account number, Personal Identification Number (PIN) or Social Security number in an email or text.

2. Don’t click on links provided in the message.

Links can install malware on your computer and take you to spoof sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information.

In general, always be leery of links sent to you via text messages and emails. Find out more about protecting yourself from fraud by visiting https://www.fsnb.net/Fraud.

3. If you receive a text message from a company or business that you recognize and believe that your mobile number has been placed on their commercial text list, the business is required to remove you when asked.

Keep in mind, that some businesses add mobile numbers to their commercial lists when you utilize their public WIFI, and agree to their “terms”. However, if you did not explicitly approve any contact from the company in writing, it is illegal for them to do so, according to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). If you believe you’ve been added to a list by “opting in” accidentally or without your knowledge, companies are required to remove your number from the list if you “unsubscribe”. Reply to the text with UNSUBSCRIBE, or STOP.

HOWEVER, if you do not recognize the sender of the text, do not respond to their messages. If the message was sent from a scammer trying to solicit your personal information, replying to the message, even by saying the word “stop” or “unsubscribe” shows them the phone number is valid. In fact, any reply encourages future contact.

You should be extra careful when replying to a suspicious text message or calling a number sent to you in a text message. Always do your own independent research. For example, use Google to verify official office phone numbers.

4. Place your cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.

You can report spam texts to your national carrier by copying the original message and forwarding it to the number 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.

5. Review your cell phone bill for unauthorized charges and report them to your carrier.

It's always a good idea to review your bills carefully for unexpected charges.

Find out more about text messaging spam at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0350-text-message-spam.

If you receive unwanted commercial text messages, remember that you can always file a complaint with the FTC.


Jenna Walker
Communications Specialist

(606) 365-3555 Ext: 19405
Email: jwalker@fsnb.net