KIM KOMANDO

How to stop junk text messages and spam for good

Mar 4, 2021, 4:05 AM
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

Think about just how many times a day your phone, computer, tablet, watch, and other gadgets buzz or ding. It gets annoying and distracting.

Much of that is likely because you haven’t taken the time to clean up your notifications settings. It’s easier than you think with this quick tech fix.

While you’re adjusting settings, I bet you’ll find apps you haven’t used in ages. Tap or click for five apps you should delete right now.

Then it’s time to tackle the actual junk. If you’ve ever sighed at the sight of spam texts and emails, you’ll love this. Here’s a secret to throwing spammers off your trail.

The two words you shouldn’t say

Ever replied to a spam message with STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE? If so, you’re setting yourself up for even more annoyance. You rightfully think that you’re putting an end to the noise, but you’ll make it worse.

Why? Spammers are hitting up as many people as possible in search of working contact information. When you interact, you’re saying, “Yes, this phone number belongs to someone!” That’s great news for them. It lets them know you’re a real person they should target more often.

Instead, take these steps:

● For an email: Mark as spam, then hit delete.

● For a text: Block the phone number and mark the message as spam. Then hit the delete button.

You can also forward spam texts to 7726 (that spells “SPAM”). You’ll get back a message from your carrier asking you to reply with the phone number that sent the offending text. It only takes a minute and can help put a stop to some spam campaigns.

If you have an iPhone:

● Find the spam message. Press down on it until a menu pops up.

● Press More in the lower right. Then, tap on the arrow icon.

● Now you’ll see a forwarded message. Tap on the to field. Then, enter 7726 and send the message.

If you use an Android phone:

● Hold down on the spam message.

● Hit the forward arrow.

● Send the message to 7726.

Want to be a superhero?

Go beyond the call of duty and contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a formal complaint. While this step requires more time and effort, it’s an excellent way to fight against spammers. Consider it your good deed for the day.

Give your inbox a little help

Spam certainly isn’t limited to calls and texts. Take a look at your inbox. In September 2020, spam accounted for over 47% of all emails sent across the globe, according to Statista.

Most email services do a decent job of detecting spam messages, but you can help the sorting process by confirming or denying automatic spam detection. When you get a spam message that wasn’t labeled as such, don’t just delete it. Hit the “report spam” button to train the algorithm to recognize these malicious messages better.

You can even do the opposite if you find innocuous emails in the spam folder. Label it as “not spam.”

3 more quick tips for cutting down email spam

If your inbox is bloated, do something about it. Consider these tactics:

1. Create two email addresses. Use one for personal use and the other for things like shopping, newsletters, surveys, and coupons. If you don’t want a separate inbox, try using aliases or create a burner email for one-time use.

2. Never display your email address on public sites. Scammers trawl social networking sites, forums, and blogs for emails. If you do want to post your email address somewhere, write it out, so it’s hard for a bot to pick up, like “name at domain dot com.”

3. Use an original email address. Did you know spammers try to create probable name combinations? Folks with common names are even bigger targets. Try to make a unique address that spammers won’t think up, even if that means adding an extra letter or other characters.

Bottom line: Don’t interact with spammers. When you respond, that’s a green light for them to keep chugging towards you.

For your peace of mind, get off the tracks.

Kim Komando

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How to stop junk text messages and spam for good