DATA DOCTORS

How to help stop the junk text messages from coming in

Apr 16, 2022, 5:45 AM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

Q: How can I stop getting so many junk text messages?

A: If it seems like you’re getting more junk text messages recently, you aren’t alone.

There has been a marked increase in the volume of junk messages in the last month or so according to the makers of the RoboKiller, a popular spam filtering app.

They reported a 30 percent increase in scam message volume in March over February.

Verizon customers also experienced a targeted scam that made the message appear to be from their own phone number.

One reason that text-based scams are increasing is because it’s a more effective way to get a response over phone calls and emails.

Another reason could be the upcoming requirement by the FCC to comply with a standard that could make caller ID spoofing much more difficult.

STIR/SHAKENCaller ID authentication has been the missing component of our telecom system since caller ID was first introduced, which allows anyone to spoof the number that appears on the junk message.

Anyone can print whatever they want as the return address on a traditional piece of mail and our current caller ID system pretty much allows the same.

An industry initiative known as STIR/SHAKEN (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited / Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs) is to be fully in place by June 30th, 2022.

The implementation of this protocol will finally bring a caller ID authentication process throughout all of the telephone networks, big and small.

Scammers know that this will become more difficult after June 30th, so they are likely going into a full-court press while they still can – so expect the volume to stay pretty high in the near term.

#1 Mistake – RespondingThe biggest mistake you can make with junk messages is to respond in any way, which includes clicking on a link in the junk message.

All it takes is one response to ensure that your number will be added to a list of verified numbers that are known to respond.

Once that happens, unless you change your phone number, you can expect to see lots of junk messages coming your way.

Report Spam to 7726Blocking a number that’s being spoofed isn’t going to do much of anything but reporting the message to your carrier will.

All of the major carriers benefit from their users forwarding junk messages to 7726 (spam) because the contents of the message can be another way for them to block the scammers across their network.

It’s important to forward the message exactly as it came to you, so don’t add any comments when you are forwarding the message.

Carrier Spam ToolsAll of the major carriers offer some form of tool to help fight the junk calls and texts – some are free while other charge a small monthly fee.

Verizon offers Call Filter, T-Mobile offers Scam Shield and AT&T offers their Call Protect app for iPhone and Android.

Since switching to a new phone number can be a huge hassle, it may be worth dealing with junk messages until we see how effective the FCC mandated implementation proves to be in July.

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How to help stop the junk text messages from coming in