How to block and report text spam

Spam texts can be incredibly irritating — you get a notification and stop what you’re doing to check your phone, only to find somebody is trying to sell you something you don’t want. How can you prevent it?

Unfortunately, there are no absolutes in preventing text spam. But there are some ways you can at least minimize the number of spam texts that get through. Here are some strategies to try.

Do not answer

Top of the list is — as you probably already know — never reply to a spam text, and never ever click on a link within a spam text. If you’re not sure whether a text is spam or legitimate, hold off on replying until you’ve done a bit of research.

Use the spam filter on your phone

Android phones and iPhones have spam-filtering features that you can enable.

If you have an Android phone:

  • Open the Messages app
  • Click on the three dots in the upper right corner
  • Select Settings > Spam protection
  • Make sure “Enable spam protection” is toggled on

If you want to see what numbers you’ve marked as spam, you can go to “Spam & blocked” in the initial menu.

Go to Settings > Spam protection.

Toggle on “Enable spam protection.”

Toggle on “Enable spam protection.”

If you have an iPhone:

Apple’s spam blocking is a little more basic than Android’s: it blocks phone numbers that you don’t have saved in your contacts list and haven’t been in contact with before, which could be an issue (say, if you’re expecting a call from a car service).

  • Open the Settings app
  • Scroll down to and select Messages > Unknown & Spam
  • Toggle on “Filter Unknown Senders”

Scroll down to “Unknown & Spam.”

Scroll down to Unknown & Spam.

Toggle on “Filter Unknown Senders.”

Toggle on “Filter Unknown Senders.”

Block specific texts

When you get a spam text, you can block that individual number from contacting you again.

If you have an Android phone:

When you tap on a message that Android tags as suspicious, the OS will often give you the opportunity to report it as spam (or verify that it’s not spam). But if you get a spam text that wasn’t flagged:

  • Tap the three dots in the upper right corner
  • Select Details > Block & report spam
  • You can just block that number if you want, or you can check “Report spam” to send the number to Google and possibly your carrier as well

Note that this process can differ depending on which Android phone you’re using.

Android often gives you the chance to report spam.

Android often gives you the chance to report spam.

You can just block a spam text, or you can report it to Google.

You can just block a spam text, or you can report it.

If you have an iPhone:

  • Open the spam text and select the user icon on top of the page
  • Tap on the “info” icon
  • Select “Block this Caller”

Select “info” and then click “info” again on the next page.

Select “info” and then click “info” again on the next page.

At the bottom of the page, select “Block this Caller.”

At the bottom of the page, select “Block this Caller.”

If you want to report an iMessage you received as spam, then look for the “Report Junk” link under the message, tap it, tap “Delete,” and then “Report Junk.” Note that this doesn’t automatically block that phone number; you’ll have to do that separately.

Forward the text to 7726

If you’re using one of the major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile), you can report a spam text by forwarding it to 7726. (This spells “SPAM” on your phone keyboard.) This may also work with other carriers; to find out if it’s possible, check with your carrier.

This isn’t just a US thing, by the way. Ofcom, which regulates the UK’s communications services, also accepts reports of spam texts forwarded to 7726.

Block spam using your carrier’s services

Most major carriers these days offer spam-blocking services for phone calls, and these can carry over to texts. Carrier sites will give details about free and for-pay security services offered by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon; if you use a different carrier, check its website.

Use a third-party spam-blocking service

If you’re really frustrated and the above strategies aren’t working for you, you can try using a third-party anti-spam service. These are not free. For example, RoboKiller costs $4.99 a month or $39.99 a year after a seven-day trial, while Nomorobo costs $1.99 per month per device after a 14-day trial. If you do decide you need a third-party service, you can use the trial to see if it works for you before committing yourself.

Update June 30th, 2021, 9:20AM ET: This article was originally published on June 29th, 2020, and has been updated to add that forwarding to 7726 can also be done in the UK.

Update December 9th, 2021, 9AM ET: Updated to reflect current options for apps and phones.

Source: The Verge

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