Text message spam is to your cell phone what email spam is to your personal computer. Both may try to get you to reveal personal information. But did you know that text message spam is illegal?
Text message spam is a triple threat: It often uses the promise of free gifts or product offers to get you to reveal personal information; it can lead to unwanted charges on your cell phone bill; and it can slow cell phone performance.
Text Message Spam is a Triple Threat
- It often uses the promise of free gifts, like computers or gift cards, or product offers, like cheap mortgages, credit cards, or debt relief services to get you to reveal personal information. If you want to claim your gift or pursue an offer, you may need to share personal information, like how much money you make, how much you owe, or your bank account information, credit card number, or Social Security number. Clicking on a link in the message can install malware that collects information from your phone. Once the spammer has your information, it is sold to marketers or, worse, identity thieves.
- It can lead to unwanted charges on your cell phone bill. Your wireless carrier may charge you simply for receiving a text message, regardless of whether you requested it.
- It can slow cell phone performance by taking up space on your phone’s memory.
Text Message Spam is Illegal
It’s illegal to send unsolicited commercial text messages to wireless devices, including cell phones and pagers, unless the sender gets your permission first. It’s also illegal to send unsolicited text messages from an auto-dialer — equipment that stores and dials phone numbers using a random or sequential number generator.
Exceptions to the law:
- Transactional or relationship types of messages. If a company has a relationship with you, it can send you things like statements or warranty information.
- Non-commercial messages. This includes political surveys or fundraising messages.
Do Not Call Registry
Telemarketing has been an annoyance for decades, which is why it’s so surprising that the National Do Not Call Registry didn’t come into being until 2004. In theory, adding your number to this registry should stop telemarketers from calling you. However, that isn’t always the case. While the Do Not Call registry can cut down your calls substantially, there are exceptions that still let calls through.
1. How to sign up for Do Not Call Registry
Joining the Do Not Call Registry is actually very simple. You go to the Do Not Call Registry Website and enter the landline or cellphone number you want on the list. Note that fax numbers are governed under different regulations, so signing them up won’t do anything.
After going through a quick email verification, you’re done. You can also call 1-888-382-1222 from any phone you want on the list. That’s all it takes, and your number stays on the list until you ask for it to be removed or you give up the number.
- Warning:You might receive a phone call from someone claiming to work at the Do Not Call Registry or Federal Trade Commission. They’ll claim your number isn’t listed on Do Not Call and offer to sign you up. Naturally, you just have to provide some personal information.
- This is always a scam. Just hang up.
2. What Do Not Call Registry does and doesn’t cover
Once you sign up, the Do Not Call Registry takes you off of for-profit business call lists, but it isn’t immediate. Telemarketers only update their lists periodically, so the FTC says it can take up to 31 days to take full effect.
Tip: If you receive an unexpected sales call after you’ve registered your number, and it has been on the list for 31 days, you can file a complaint. Just go to donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222. Be prepared to provide the date of the call and the company’s name or phone number.
On the other hand, political organizations, charities and survey takers are still permitted to call you. Businesses you’ve bought something from or made a payment to in the last 18 months also have a right to call. When they call, however, just firmly tell them to take you off their list and they have to honor your request, although they might still try to talk you into reconsidering.
Sometimes on a call from a survey company, the caller will ask if they can make a follow-up call. If you agree, then a for-profit company associated with the survey company can call you with a sales pitch. So, don’t just ask them to call later to get them off the phone.
You should also be careful when signing up for sweepstakes and free product offers. The fine print may include your permission to receive telemarketing calls from affiliated companies. If you do get telemarketing calls after signing up for a sweepstakes, again just firmly state you want off their list.
Under the Do Not Call rules, most businesses can’t hit you with prerecorded telemarketing messages, also called robocalls, without your written permission. Political robocalls and informational robocalls, such as those received from health care providers, banks and schools, are still allowed, though.
3. Cellphones and Do Not Call Registry
Every year or so, a hoax burns like wildfire through email inboxes and social networks warning that all cellphone numbers are about to go public. Register your mobile number right away! It also says there’s a deadline to register your cellphone, and, once registered, it only blocks your number for five years.
Strangely enough, the only thing the hoax message gets right is the number to call. For the record, mobile telephone numbers have never been in any danger of being made public or released to telemarketers. Additionally, there has never been a deadline to register your cellphone. And you don’t need to renew every five years (this was a rule for landlines that was axed in 2007).
In fact, you don’t technically need to sign up your cellphone at all. The FTC says that unsolicited telemarketing calls or robocalls to cellphones are illegal anyway. It’s still a good idea to sign up, though, in case the rules ever change.
How do I make Text Message Spam Stop?
The Text Message Spam Lawyers got you covered! If you report the unwanted text message spam that you received to us, we’ll track down the sender of the text message spam and help you recover up to $500 for each unsolicited text message spam you received or $1,500 if the violation was willful or knowing.
You heard that right… You could receive up to $1,500 per spam text that you received.
Report your Text Message Spam to The Text Message Lawyers. Lets Get Started:
- Save the text message! Take a screenshot and email it yourself so the evidence is preserved. You never know what may happen to your phone and without the evidence your case is much more difficult!
- Screenshot your text message or write down that number that calls you, as well as the company that they are calling from! Often ascertaining the identify of these companies is difficult, so the more information the better.
- Send The Text Message Lawyers Your Screenshot:Send the screenshot image of your spam text message by sending a text to 1-833-3TEXT-ME (1-833-383-9863) or email us at email@example.com
- Call the attorneys at Shamis & Gentile, P.A. for a free consultation for your potential case. We will happily discuss and let you know what further actions are required!
There are NO fees or expenses, so call today for a free consultation, send a screenshot to our spam text hotline or fill out a contact us form. We would be happy to review for you, a loved one, a friend, or anyone you suspect may have a case. Report your text message spam today and we’ll see if we can help you recover $500 to $1,500 for each text message.