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What to do with spam texts and how to help stop them

Posted at 7:38 AM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 12:42:02-05

A lot of people have multiple email accounts because spam gets out of control. These days more people may also be noticing an increase in text messages from numbers you don't know.

Tech experts say marketers have figured out that people are 300 times more likely to respond to a text than an email. Tie that in with more big companies seeing security breaches and now scammers have your number.

Ken Colburn from Data Doctors says the most important thing if you get a text from an unknown number is to not even open it. If you do, he says absolutely do not click on any links in that text. Do not respond either — that will only show a scammer they got a working number. The only exception is if a legitimate business lists "STOP" as a response option.

One way to sidestep all of this is to get a burner number. Phone apps like Google Voice, Burner, Sideline, Line2 generate a fake number that connects to your real one.

"So, when you're asked to give a phone number, whether at a restaurant or doing business with a retailer, instead of giving them your real number, you give them the burner number. Just like with burner email accounts, as soon as it becomes overrun with garbage, you stop using it and get another one," said Colburn.

Another option is to mute the messages. For iPhone, you can go to Settings - Messages - scroll down to Message Filtering and turn on the 'Filter Unknown Senders' option.

The other way to help stop scammers is to forward the text to 7726 (SPAM) and it will alert your phone company and their investigative teams. To do that, hold your finger on the message without clicking the link. Androids will have a 'Forward' option, iPhones list a 'More' option and then tap the small arrow on the bottom right and it will create a new text with the message you are forwarding.