Text messaging has become a mainstream form of communication for many, so consequently, solicitors are utilizing it too.
"Unwanted, unsolicited text messages can be costly and annoying," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. "Preventing spam entirely may be impossible, but there are ways to reduce it."
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act - also known as the CAN-SPAM Act - were developed to curb mounting unwanted commercial advertising. According to the Federal Communications Commission:
- Unwanted "commercial messages" sent to cell phones from online communications, such as email and Internet addresses, are prohibited.
- "Short messages" sent from one mobile phone to another, without the use of an Internet address, are not covered by the FCC ban
- Auto-dialers are prohibited when sending unwanted text messages to wireless phones.
Consumers can reduce text message spam by utilizing simple steps:
Register Phones: Visit www.donotcall.gov to register phones on the National Do Not Call Registry to prevent unsolicited text messages and phone calls. Violators can be reported to this same resource.
Understand Permissions: Regardless of National Do Not Call Registry participation, consumers who have given prior consent or have an established business relationship with the sender are not protected under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Many retail stores ask for phone numbers at checkout; while some are gathering demographics, others are sending shoppers text messages. Before releasing numbers, ask if they're required and how they'll be used.
Block Messages: Contact wireless providers. Many allow users to refuse messages from certain delivery types. Ask providers for help with reducing and reporting spam.
Don't Talk Back: Spammers thrive on feedback, so don't respond to unknown text messages. If excessive unwanted messages continue, consider changing phone numbers. Learn more about protecting information at bbb.org.