Block Text Message Spam

If you’ve ever received cell phone spam, you know how infuriating it can be—especially if you pay by the message. David Pogue of the New York Times recently got hit with a spate of junk text messages on his Verizon plan, and he figured out how to block most of them. If you’re with AT&T or Verizon you can block any messages sent through the Internet, as well as change your text message address to an alias to thwart number-guessing spammers. Sprint will let you block specific addresses. T-Mobile lets you block email messages and set up filters based on specific phrases. Login info below.

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  1. phelander says:

    Block Consumerist commenter Spam.

  2. PinkBox says:

    GOOD to know… *goes to change settings now*

  3. Jonbo298 says:

    Remember though, if you put on the Premium SMS Block (with Verizon at least, unsure of other carriers), it blocks ALL short code (the ones that show coming from things like 46397 or 88302 or something) messages. Meaning, if you sign up for local weather alerts from a local news station that uses short codes to send them, etc..it will block them also as I found out.

    It’s a short downside to it but hopefully with time, you can still block any ‘Premium’ SMS messages but set it so that you can go online and unblock specific short code numbers/addresses you want messages from.

  4. theblackdog says:

    @Jonbo298: That would be nice to be able to “unblock” because I get those kinds of alerts when my subway line is having problems.

  5. My last bastion of personal space…gone. I don’t blame the spammers though. I blame the idiots who actually buy things from spam messages and make it profitable.

  6. Carencey says:

    Hooray! Solutions for those of us not in the “turn off all SMS features” camp, because I am sure everyone just stopped using email back in the day too, right? right? I may have to give that alias thing a try. I do receive, and would prefer to continue to receive short code messages and internet messages(I love my Twitter). But that looks like it would solve any spam issues (of which I have had blessedly few) because I could give the alias to text services that I actually sign up for.

  7. Carencey says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: Can I blame both? but yeah. I guess there must be people who receive random spam messages and think they just have to have whatever great deal is offered.

  8. amyschiff says:

    whoa…. I didn’t even know text message spam existed. I guess I’m lucky to never have gotten any.

  9. ViperBorg says:

    SWEET!

  10. trustsatan says:

    Question for anyone who has used Verizon’s site to set up email text blocking: how do you do this for a secondary phone on the account? I hunted for about half-an-hour on the vtext site without finding it and have no burning desire to sit on the phone with verizon’s customer service for at least that long.

    I was able to set up the email text blocking for the primary phone on the account, but there is no dropdown or selection (like there is on the primary vzwireless site) to select the secondary number. Does the blocking I’ve set on the primary phone also apply to the secondary?

  11. dangermike says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: I don’t think people buying things is where they make money. Every single text spam I’ve ever gotten and almost all the unsolicited business calls I’ve received have been from identity theft scams. Of course, most of them are so poorly construed or thinly veiled that I’ll completely forgive your blame-the-victim sentiment. ;)

  12. opsomath says:

    my cell shows me the number then asks me if I want to view the message…which is good, since I have prepaid.

  13. antisane says:

    I’m in the opposite camp then most, I want to block ALL SMS messages. I don’t bother with SMS at all, but I’m a sprint customer. I have requested they block ALL SMS several times, and each time they have told me it is blocked. I still receive spam about 5 times a week on both phones (although it does finally seem to be slowing).

  14. dkush21 says:

    I haved a tracfone prepaid. How do I block incoming text spam on it?? Does anyone know??

  15. hahamaximus says:

    I received a corp. phone whose # had been used to subscribe to a dating text service. Each morning, lots of text messages. I went through all the online options at VZW to only allow messages to an alias, etc., but it still bled through. Strangely, I started to get messages from other “groups” once the original group was blocked. Whats really disturbing, is there is no way to unsubscribe from the group…
    Took a call to customer service to turn off *all* text messaging.

  16. DrGirlfriend says:

    I’m with T-Mobile, and when this happened to me I called them, they set up filters for me, and they not only refunded the costs for the texts I got, but gave me about $5 worth of extra texts (I think they cost 10 cents each, so that was pretty sweet).

  17. @dangermike: To be honest, I haven’t gotten cell phone spam yet, so I stand corrected. I was just basing it on my e-mail spam, which is literally 90% penis enlargement products.

  18. ChaseEquiflux says:

    This comes at the perfect time because I started getting spam on my
    work cel phone – in SPANISH! It’s so bizarre but hopefully now that I
    made these suggested changes, it will be over.

  19. @trustsatan: i’ve got a secondary line, and i just logged in with my own phone number.

  20. HonestNigerian says:

    I just started getting text spam when I called Tmobile to report and ask that they block my text messages. The rep replied that they couldn’t block text messages . I explained that other companies have the technology so I shouldn’t have to pay for texts I don’t want. The rep then replied that they couldn’t block them because they are the only company that communicates with thier customers solely via text messages. for some reason he thought that was my issue. I don’t care about how Tmobile communicates, infact I don’t WANT to get text messages from Tmobile either. He then said, well, the spammers are getting your numbers SOMEHOW. he was implying I was to blame for getting the spam. he must have forgetten I wasn’t in a contract with Tmobile. I said thanks for telling me to switch to Verizon and then hung up. My iphone would be useless with verizon so maybe I’ll finally go with ATT when the new iphone comes out. Yes. I am an iphone whore.

  21. SacraBos says:

    @dangermike: There’s probably some of both. For E-mail spam, there’s the Nigerian 418 scams, but there’s also lots of pills, fake Rolexes, etc. They do make money, since it’s costs only pennies to sent a million spams, and if you only get a poor 0.01% response rate, that’s still 100 sales. Maybe not a lot of money, but like a slot machine, it’s enough to keep them doing it until they get they hit a jackpot of sales.

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  23. Jenny27 says:

    I tried to stop e-mail based text messages, but t-mobile doesn’t permit that (contrary to the NYT article). Here’s the text from t-mobile website:

    “How do I block all incoming and outgoing texts?

    At this time, incoming and outgoing text messages cannot be blocked.

    The text messaging feature on your account is a mandatory feature and cannot be removed due to system requirements. This feature is needed because it is where:

    * Voicemail notifications are delivered.
    * Billing notifications are delivered.
    * In case of emergency, text messages can be sent or received with minimal coverage.
    * Over-The-Air (OTA) updates are delivered. These are crucial system and network updates.”