How to Stop Annoying Spam Text Messages

Text messaging is the most common form of communication used by young adults (ages 18-29) and is becoming increasing popular among older age groups, according to a study conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project[1].  In December 2012, CNN reported that six billion texts are sent on a daily basis just in the U.S[2].

Businesses are exploiting this form of communication by sending commercial spam text messages and/or selling cell phone numbers to other businesses for the same purpose.  These types of messages are illegal unless you have previously given your consent or the message is an emergency in nature.

As previously discussed, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been actively involved in exteding protection to consumers against unwanted spam text and email messages by implementing regulations and filing charges against companies that violate them.  In particular, two laws have been enacted to establish guidelines for businesses and allow consumers to file complaints:

  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
  • Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM) Act.

Though helpful, FCC and FTC remedies have been largely ineffective in curtailing text spam.  The question remains, what can you do to stop these annoying messages?  The FTC recommends the following[3]:

  1. When supplying your cell phone number to a company, be sure to read through the privacy policy to make sure that your number will not be sold.
  2. Oftentimes, websites provide an option for receiving information from their “partners,” be sure uncheck this box.
  3. Do not respond to texts that appear dubious, a response could validate your number in a company’s system, thereby inviting more spam.
  4. Contact your cell phone service provider.  Many companies offer their customers the ability to forward the spam text message to a specific number, which will help them block future messages from that number.  (AT&T requests that their customers forward the messages to 7726 or SPAM).

Smart phones enable users to receive email on their phones.  The CAN-SPAM Act requires businesses to clearly identify the email as a solicitation or advertisement, give you the option to easily opt out of receiving these types of messages, and the email must have a legitimate return address.

Perhaps you have previously given your consent to receive commercial text messages from a particular company, but you have decided that you no longer want to receive them.  Under FCC rules, you can at any time revoke your consent by opting out.  The sender has ten days to process your request to opt out.  Maybe you are unsure whether you provided consent or not?  The FCC requires that your consent must be in writing to receives texts that are commercial, and oral or written to receive texts that are non-commercial.

If you believe youhave received an unsolicited commercial text message, you are urged to contact a text spam lawyer at Audet and Partners, LLP by calling (800) 965-1461, or by completing and submitting the confidential case inquiry form on the right side of this page.



[1] http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Cell-Phone-Texting-2011/Main-Report.aspx

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/03/tech/mobile/sms-text-message-20/index.html?iref=allsearch

[3] http://www.fcc.gov/guides/spam-unwanted-text-messages-and-email

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