Group texting allows you to remain in contact with multiple people at one time. However, like any other communication tool, it can be abused.
The result can be spam texts and phishing scams via group messaging.
If you’ve been subjected to a spam group text recently, you’re not the only one. Luckily, there are preventative steps that can be taken for both iOS and Android users.
Get to know spam texts and their methods
Texts are a useful way for businesses to connect with customers, but increasing numbers of scammers now use text messaging for malicious purposes.
Many kinds of spam texts are designed by scammers to collect personal information like your name or social security number, and make you the victim of fraud. These include:
- Free gift offers
- Delivery service notifications
- Blocked account notifications
- Confirmations of recent payments
- Recent statement notifications
In the incidence of spam group texts, the content of these texts are likely to be generalized, and centered around “winning prizes,” “getting freebies,” or “clicking links.”
Now, if you’ve received a group text, you’ve noticed the chaos that follows as a result of your phone notifications being triggered. iPhone users, for example, can add up to 32 numbers to a group text. On some of the latest Android models, up to 20 recipients can be added.
The confusion that group messages and notifications provide is exactly what scammers try to exploit to better target you for a text scam.
How to spot a text scam
If you received an unexpected group text, it might be a straightforward scam. Usually, recipients in the group will quickly start to “leave” the conversation when they recognize it.
Others signs that you might be dealing with a scammer include:
- Unknown senders – If you’ve been added to a group that includes phone numbers you don’t recognize, it might be a scam. Most companies will never add customers to group texts because of security concerns.
- Typos – Spelling mistakes are a big giveaway that you’re dealing with a scammer. No trusted organization would allow spelling mistakes in official messaging.
- Unusual links – Another big indicator you’re dealing with a scam. Even if a link includes words you recognize, it’s best to avoid any links sent to you by text.
- Time limit – If the text refers to an “offer only valid for 30 minutes,” it’s probably a scam. Scammers use this tactic to pressure you into clicking links without thinking.
What iOS and Android are doing about spam group texts
Both Apple and Google are constantly at work to stop text scammers from being able to reach their customers by reinforcing options in their operating systems.
The companies also each provide useful information online about how to identify and stop spam texts and spam group texts.
Users for both iOS and Android also have the option to report and block unwanted spam texts or robocalls from numbers they believe could be scammers.
Stop spam texts on iPhone
iOS allows users to “leave” group chats in their messaging app, as well as report and block any number flagged as spam.
- To leave a group text on iOS, open the text message > press the “Group” icon on the screen > scroll to the bottom > press “Leave This Conversation.”
- You should also turn on the spam filter on your iPhone by going to Settings > Messages > Filter Unknown Senders.
Report spam texts on iPhone
As well as blocking spam texts, you should also report the message. If you report the message, the information will be sent to the Apple team to investigate.
- Within the message, press “Report Junk” > “Delete and Report Junk.”
Stop spam texts on Android
There are several options for Android users to stop spam texts or block spam group texts.
- Within the text, select “Block Number” at the top of the conversation. Click on “Delete Conversation” to remove the conversation from your messages page.
- You can also press and hold the text and press “Block” > “Report Spam” > “OK.”
- You can also turn on your Android spam filters by going to Settings > Spam Protection > Enable Spam Protection.
Report spam texts on Android
As well as blocking, you can also report spam texts directly. That means Google will receive a report, including the last ten messages from the spammer, plus contact details.
- To report spam, press the three dots in the right hand corner of the conversation, then press “More Options” > “Details” > “Block & Report Spam” > “OK.”
What else to do to stop spam texts as iOS or Android users
As well as activating your phone’s built-in spam filters, sign up with a third-party app to further monitor and restrict spam texts and spam calls you receive.
There are plenty of services available in both Apple and Android app stores, but some of the most popular options include:
- RoboKiller – available for both iOS and Android, this app promises to eliminate 99% of spam calls and texts.
- VeroSMS – this app will block texts that feature keywords you’ve blacklisted, as well as unknown URLs.
- NomoRobo – this app filters unwanted texts and calls at an affordable price point.
Also, read our guide on how to stop spam texts for a full rundown on all your available options.
How to address the root cause of the spam problem
An increasing number of household phone lines receive spam texts, calls, and junk mail. This is largely due to the increase in data brokers.
Data-broker platforms are businesses that harvest publicly available information before selling it to third parties that tend to use it for marketing purposes.
Unfortunately, this completely legal practice can frequently lead to scammers accessing your personal information and using it for fraudulent activity.
There are over 400 different data-broker platforms in the U.S. alone, which means there’s a high chance that your information is on one or many of these databases.
If you want to stop spam group texts once and for all, you need to remove your information from these data-broker platforms, a process that takes a lot of time and energy.
Instead, you could also hire a data-broker removal service like DeleteMe to do it all for you. We specialize in securing your online data by opting you out of data-broker platforms.
The boundaries of spam text legality
Although there’s a distinct lack of regulations around data brokers operating in the U.S., there are at least some regulations for spam texts.
It’s actually illegal to spam cell phone users without a sender’s permission. In fact, if spammers are caught, they can be fined millions of dollars.
However, these laws seldom stop scammers from contacting you. Therefore, we all need to do our part by identifying and taking action against spammers.
Sign up with DeleteMe, and when we remove relevant information like your phone number from the Internet, you’ll likely see a reduction in spam texts almost immediately.
Find out more about how we can start helping you secure your online information today.