You won a $1,000 retail gift card!”
xxx xxx-xxxx to confirm your credit card account information.”
“You owe a
fee/fine and a warrant for your arrest has been issued, But if you pay us now…”
If you have not
received a text message similar to this one, chances are you most likely will
soon. Scammers have long used telephones and more recently emails, to attempt
to “phish” personal information from unsuspecting consumers.
growing popularity of texting, phishers are using it as another means to gather
consumers' personal information. This is known as “smishing.”
Text spam is
very annoying since consumers often have to pay for the incoming messages,
messages may have to be opened in order to be deleted, and texting back “stop”
often invites more spam.
In April 2012,
Wisconsin law began protecting cellular phone numbers from unsolicited text
messages. This means that if your cell phone number is on the Wisconsin Do Not
Call Registry, texts are treated the same as unwanted calls – you cannot be
sent texts for the purpose of getting you to buy something.
This also means
the same No Call law exceptions apply. Therefore, you may receive texts from:
On the federal
level, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), working with the National
Do No Call List, also prohibits solicitations. Federal protections and
exemptions are very similar to Wisconsin’s. FCC rules ban text messages sent to
a mobile phone using an auto dialer unless you previously gave consent to
receive the message or the message is sent for emergency purposes. The ban applies
even if you have not placed your mobile number on the National Do Not Call
Trade Commission (FTC) has rules that indicate all unsolicited electronic
Identify it is
a solicitation or advertisement.
Provide a way
to reject future messages from the sender.
Provide a valid
return address (email and physical).
The FCC can
enforce the above rules if the complaint is a text message, an email from a
communications company, or the message advertises or promotes a communications
electronic message solicitations are handled by the FTC.
How to stop
cell phone spam
wireless service provider as quickly as possible. This may help you avoid
charges for the message and makes your cell phone provider aware of the
If a certain
phone number is contacting you repeatedly, most smartphones will allow you to
automatically block that number in your phone settings.
in junk mail or spam filters. Almost all cell phone providers have some built
in means to block unwanted text messages. Contact your service provider for
available filtering options or services.
service providers allow you to forward unwanted texts by simply texting it to
7726 (or "SPAM") to block the sender.
Be careful of
who you give your information out to. When online, avoid posting your email
address and cell number on public websites, forums, membership directories, and
submitting any of your information to a web form, be sure to read the privacy
policy, the entire submission form and any other disclosures.
Know where your
information is going when filling out forms for businesses, memberships or free
Do not give out
your email or cell phone number, unless required, to reduce the chances of
Be careful what
you agree to. Companies offering free or unlimited ringtones and other phone
add-ons or downloads may seem appealing, but you may be opening yourself up for
Do Not Call
In order to
reduce unsolicited calls and text messages, register your home and mobile
residential numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry at no cost by
visiting www.donotcall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222 (you must call
from the phone number you wish to register).