National Consumer Protection Week: Yes, You Can Receive Spam on Your Cell Phone


By: Ryan Corbin, Fall 2014 Student Intern

phone1Have you ever received a promotional message over text messaging? Text message spam is to your cell phone what email spam is to your personal computer.  Text message spam can lead to unwanted charges in your cell phone bill, reveal personal information, and slow cell phone performance.  Often the text message will promise free gifts just by clicking a link.  Clicking on the link can install malware on your phone that collects information from your phone.  Once the spammer has your information, it is sold to marketers or identity thieves.  Also, your wireless carrier may charge you simply for receiving a text message and it can slow performance by taking up space on the phones memory.

Practice doing these things to protect against text message spam:

  • Delete text messages that ask for personal information.
  • Don’t reply to the message and don’t click on the links in the message.
  • Place your cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.
  • If you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint or Bell subscriber, you can report spam texts to your carrier by copying the original message and forwarding it to the number 7726 (SPAM), free of charge.
  • Review your cell phone bill for unauthorized charges.

It is illegal to send unsolicited commercial messages to wireless devices unless you give permission first. If you receive unwanted commercial text messages, file a complaint with the FTC.  For information about text message spam from the FTC, click here.