In our increasingly digital age, scam texts and phishing scams pose a significant threat to us all.
Unfortunately, spam text messages are also on the rise, which means it’s even more important than ever to protect your personal information.
Get to know spam texts and their use
Spam texts are often used as a scamming method to gain access to your personal information, putting you at a high risk for fraud. The information they usually try to ascertain can include your name or phone number, even your social security number.
Alarmingly, most of these spam text scams are very convincing. Many may claim to be from Verizon and appear to feature an official “Sender ID.” Typical text scam formats are:
- “You’ve won a prize.” Spam texts that claim you’ve won money or a prize and advise you to follow a link to claim it.
- “IRS notification.” A message that claims to be from the IRS regarding a refund that will again include a link to an external website.
- “Verify your details.” A message that says your account or banking information has been frozen until you verify your details.
- “Package delivery.” This spam text mentions an Amazon or UPS delivery being held for you and you need to select a time for delivery.
How to spot a text scam
While these text scams may assume different forms, the goal is the same. They will usually ask you to click a link to take you to a website—this is bait to steal your information.
For example, a recent text scam targeting Verizon customers included a message offering a free gift. Alongside a link, the text read, “Free Msg: Your bill is paid for March. Thanks, here’s a little gift for you.” Other key indicators of an SMS scam include:
- Spelling errors – It’s highly unlikely major cell providers like Verizon would misspell any content in official messaging. Typos suggest you’re dealing with a scam.
- Timeframe – A text demanding a quick response or “you’ll miss out” is usually a sign that a scammer doesn’t want you to think too much before acting.
- Unusual link – A text featuring a strange URL you don’t recognize should not be clicked.
- Unknown number – Most scammers try to use a Sender ID, but anything you don’t recognize should be approached as a scam.
What Verizon is doing about spam texts
Verizon takes reports of scams and identity theft very seriously. They offer an extensive online guide to identify and stop spam texts, as well as other potential scams, like phishing emails or phone scams and robocalls.
In early 2022, they also released a statement following an uptick in Verizon-related spam texts.
“Our team is actively working to block these messages, and we have engaged with U.S. law enforcement to identify and stop the source of this fraudulent activity,” the statement from the company read. “Verizon continues to work on behalf of the customer to prevent spam texts and related activity.”
What you can do about Verizon spam texts
Like other carriers, Verizon tries to do everything they can to protect customers. But it’s not unheard of for spam to continue to slip past regardless. Luckily, there are easy ways for Verizon customers to stop spam texts on their own.
Block Verizon spam texts
Verizon offers a call filter app to monitor spam and allows you to report it directly to the carrier. Simply access the App Store or Android Apps to download and activate the service. The starter plan for iOS or Android are free, or you can upgrade to a premium version for $7.99 a month.
You can also block specific spam directly through your Verizon account.
Report spam texts to Verizon
Verizon customers can report spam texts and potential scammers directly to the cell provider.
- Forward the spam text to 7726 and Verizon’s security team will take it from there.
- Report spam using Verizon Message+. Simply press and hold the selected message for a pop-up to appear where you can click “Report.”
What else can be done to stop Verizon spam texts
Most mobile devices have a built-in spam filter you can activate to further reduce the amount of spam texts or calls you receive.
For iPhone users, this can be switched on by going to Settings > Messages > Filter Unknown Senders.
Android users can activate a filtering service by accessing Settings > Spam Protection > Enable Spam Protection.
For more information on how to stop spam texts, view our extensive free guide. Also, consider downloading a third-party app like NomoRobo or RoboKiller for an added layer of protection against text scammers.
How to address the root cause of the problem
Whether you take one or all of the actions listed above to reduce the amount of spam texts you’re getting and minimize your risk of getting scammed, the question remains: why are you getting so much spam in the first place?
We attribute the excess of spam individuals receive to the existence of data brokers.
Data brokers are businesses that collect your personal information from all across the Internet before condensing it into profiles to sell to the highest bidder, all without your consent. Sadly the practice is completely legal, and means your information could fall into the wrong hands.
To secure your online information, and limit the amount of spam texts, emails, and junk mail you receive, you need to stop data brokers from harvesting and selling your data. The only way to do that is to opt your profile out of each and every one of their sites.
However, the reality is, this process is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. At any given moment, thousands of data brokers are operating around the world.
An alternative is to enlist the help of a data broker removal service like DeleteMe. For as little as $10.75 a month, a team of privacy experts will opt you out of data-broker platforms, reducing the amount of spam you receive almost immediately, guaranteed.
The legal boundaries of spam texts
While there are no laws to protect consumers in the U.S. against data brokers so far, there is some regulation around text spam.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it’s illegal to send spam or commercial text messages to a cell phone without the sender’s permission.
The FTC has also been known to file complaints against serial spammers, which can result in serious fines for these illicit senders.
Despite the harsh punishment, scammers are still able to sneak under the radar, so it’s important you take steps of your own to stay vigilant and report spam texts.
There’s no reason to wait. Find out more about how DeleteMe can help you today.
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