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Don't just ignore that scam via SMS. Here's how to stop them



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No matter what kind of phone you use, we all receive scams and spam text messages. Angela Lang / CNET

Spam text messages are more than just annoying reminders we receive about a free milkshake in a local restaurant. They have the potential to be just as intrusive as the robocalls that bomb us daily .

You may have received a message stating that you have won a trip or a warning that your iCloud account has been hacked. These messages are an attempt to mislead you into providing personal or account information to hackers, who then use it to take over your telephone number or gain access to your online accounts.

This is what you can do if you receive scams, as well as some advice about what not to do.

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Do not open links

Fraudsters are tricky. They send messages that seem to come from a legitimate company, such as your wireless network provider, and contain a link asking you to verify your account information. The link then takes you to a site that may look real, but in reality it's fake and collects your username, password, and other personal information for future use.

If you receive an unexpected message that contains a link, do not open it. If you open this by accident, you do not enter any account or personal information.

Look at this fake Verizon site currently used for phishing attempts, as described in How To Geek. The site looks real and even refers to the official Verizon site after the nefarious actors have your account details. Scary stuff. ] -efe7-47b4-a4cf-1da14f9aed3f.jpg “/>

Don't click on links in spam messages and do research before you stop replying. Jason Cipriani / CNET

Do research before answering with & # 39; STOP & # 39;

A common method to ensure that you do not receive unwanted spam messages (such as that restaurant offering the free milkshake) is to reply with & # 39; STOP & # 39 ;. It's a quick and easy way to end messages from anything, from a political campaign to your internet provider.

But scammers use this same tool to mislead you into answering their messages, so that they in turn know that your phone number is valid and that they can be targeted with more messages or robocalls.

Instead of quickly answering STOP on an unsolicited message, take a few seconds to look up the number to see if an accredited organization or company uses it for text messages.

For example, I verified Comcast's number by searching for "266278 text" after I received a message a few weeks ago asking if I wanted updates about a disruption in my environment. The number from which I received the message did indeed correspond to a number of Comcast lists on the support page.

If you verify that a number is valid, respond with STOP to remove yourself from their distribution list. ] /728747ec-e048-47c5-961c-031fbcd9ccf8.jpg cialis19659027 cialis728747ec-e048-47c5-961c-031fbcd9ccf8 cialis19659018 23: Report scam messages to your provider. Jason Cipriani / CNET

Report a bad message to your provider

If you cannot check who has sent a message, or if it is a clear scam, you can forward the message to 7726 (it spells "spam" on the telephone keypad) .

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon all accept spam reports via this number. You can receive a follow-up message after reporting a message, to request more information or to confirm the number from which the original message was sent.

Some providers, such as Sprint, even block the number from sending you messages after you report it.

Use the built-in blocking tool of your telephone

Another option is to block the number itself. Both iOS and Android have built-in tools to block messages and calls from specific numbers.

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You can always block the number.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

iPhone users

On a iPhone open the message in the Messages app and tap the profile picture at the top and then the Info button. In the next screen, tap the telephone number followed by Block this caller at the bottom of the next screen.

By following these steps, the number blocks both messages and you. ] -1d55-4628-9ab6-5d76b1901996.jpg “/>

Google Messages takes extra steps to analyze and identify spam.


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

Android users

As is usually the case with Android phones, the process of blocking a number depends on who makes your phone and which messaging app you use.

If you are using the Google Messages app, start opening the spam message and tap the menu button in the upper right corner and select Details from the options list. In the next screen, select Block and report spam followed by OK . The Messages app sends the number and 10 of its previous messages to Google for analysis to improve future spam detection. Your responses to the number will not be sent to Google. If you prefer to simply block the number, select the check box next to & # 39; Report Spam & # 39; before you tap OK .

Samsung Messaging users should open the conversation, tap the three dots menu in the upper right corner, and then select Block Number > Block .

  Samsung Galaxy S20 "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/TYYlW4tKWwISZ46IoeaKnIOB2ks=/2020/02/11/3fd3c932-8fc8-4e8d-a3b9-34a84519523d/02-samsung-gal-samsung-gal -galaxy .jpg

If you are routinely irritated, submit a report to the FCC. Sarah Tew / CNET

Complain to the FCC

If you want to help fight current and future spam messages and you are in the US, you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission when you receive a message that falls into one of these three categories:

  • An unsolicited commercial text message
  • An automatic message sent to your phone without your prior consent
  • An automated message from a telecommunications company or other advertising company makes for any products or services from telecommunications companies sent without your prior consent

Visit this site to file a complaint with the FCC. It will not immediately prevent messages from coming into your phone, but it will at least help the FCC to detect bad actors.

Just like you don't have to handle spam messages, you don't have to deal with robocalls either. You cannot put an end to it forever, but you can call less often.


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