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Ask Sid

Stop Text Message Spam

Q. How can I stop unsolicited text messages on my wireless phone?

A.They are not only annoying. Text messages can cost you—whether you want them or not. Wireless companies may charge customers a flat rate or per-message fee, sometimes even when messages are not opened.

It’s difficult to stop telephone text messages, which numbered more than 600 billion last year. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) bans spam text messages that include an Internet address—typically a name followed by the @ symbol. When you get those, complain to the FCC. However, the ban doesn’t include text messages sent from one mobile user to another without an Internet address.

Your best bet to slow the onslaught: Do not respond to text messages—even with a “don’t call me again” request. That just tells the sender you have a “live” telephone number, ripe for more spam. Complain to your wireless provider, too. Although wireless providers make money from these messages, sometimes they waive charges for griping subscribers.

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of “Scam-Proof Your Life” (AARP Books/Sterling).



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