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Do you report nuisance texts using SPAM?

Spam

Do you receive a lot of spam text messages asking you to claim for an accident you’ve never had? Or an SMS to reclaim the PPI money you’ve already reclaimed for free and have since spent on a break in Alicante?

You probably know that there are many straightforward ways to deal with spam texts. Even your mobile provider offers a simple method to blow the whistle on irritating spam text messages – but does anyone know about it?

A few weeks ago we shared a fact on our Facebook page – you can report spam texts to your mobile provider by forwarding them to 7726. And, to the surprise of many, the post revealed a public in the dark about using 7726 to report spam texts.

Can you honestly say you’ve heard of 7726? Or even used it? We asked 2,000 members of the general public exactly that.

Use 7726 to report spam texts

A whopping 90% of our survey respondents who owned a mobile phone didn’t know they could report a spam text using 7726! Plus, almost half of mobile owners say they get at least one unwanted spam text once a week.

Previous research also told us that six in 10 of you would be more likely to report a spam text or nuisance call if you knew how to report them and who to report it to.

This means that you’re not only highly likely to be receiving spam texts, but you also want to report them.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is also now warning of an increase in spam texts and nuisance calls following the changes to pension rules which came into force on 6 April.

So go forth and raise awareness of 7726 – use it to report unwanted, unsolicited and unwelcome spam text messages.

How does 7726 work?

All of the UK’s mobile operators worked together to deploy a tool which collates all the information from the 7726 short code in real time. This means they can take early action to block numbers that are generating spam on their networks. They can also use this information to inform the regulators. So remember:

  • You can report spam texts directly to your mobile phone provider free of charge by forwarding the text message to 7726.
  • It’s easy to remember as the number spells out SPAM on a mobile keypad.
  • When you report a spam text you may get an automated response thanking you for the report giving you further instructions if needed.

Do you get a lot of spam text messages? Had you heard of 7726 before reading this? Will you use it?

Do you report spam texts using 7726?

No, but I will from now on (72%, 458 Votes)

No I don't (19%, 119 Votes)

Yes I do (9%, 56 Votes)

Total Voters: 633

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Comments
Member

Although I have had more than my share of nuisance calls on my landline for years, I don’t get nuisance calls or texts on my mobile phone. I have had the number for years.

I know others who do have problems with nuisance calls and texts on mobiles.

Member

I’ve started to get more and more spam texts everyday…mostly from the same companies 🙁 However, I’m one of those individuals who’d never heard of “7726” – I’d usually just block the number and then delete the text message on my iPhone. I’m going to start using it now 😀

Member

Used “7726” many times but still the texts kept coming so I gave up and got a new phone number.

The problem with 7726 is that there’s no feedback on the action, (if any) taken or even if they ever track down the senders of the texts.

Member

I agree with Castle about the lack of feedback. A year or so ago I received fifty or so messages asking me to take out a loan at an extortionate rate of interest. I used 7726 for each of them. The problem being that each came with a different telephone number and a variety of different heading companies, even though they were all the same. Eventually they gave up. I wonder how they got hold of so many numbers and what the phone companies were doing selling them by the hundreds or maybe thousands. Recently Vodafone have been sending me rubbish and some clot in East London wanted to rent out cars to the public and used my telephone number (with one digit different) to trade. I was surprised at the number of people who couldn’t dial properly. That too has faded and nuisance texts just get scrubbed from the phone. I might use 7726 on Vodafone one day and see what happens when they try to ban themselves.

Member

What is meant by ‘use 7726’?
Fortunately I get very few spam texts as I make sure as few people as possible know my mobile number. But I get a lot of spam phone calls on the landline and these are a pain to report.

Member

It appears that you forward the text message to phone number 7726. That’s what I guessed but I had to look elsewhere to confirm it. Perhaps Adam could clarify the text.

I have no need of this facility but it would be great to have a similar simple facility for reporting nuisance calls to landlines. Not one of the call blocking phones is capable of doing what I need, but a phone that would let me press a button during a nuisance call to alert the authorities would be a great help.

Member

When I forward an SMS message, only the text is forwarded. The originating phone number is not. (This is on an Android phone; if you use a different OS, it may be different.) So, obviously, forwarding the text will not work. You need to send the number. But I couldn’t find a way to do that, and I’m not going to go to the trouble of writing it down on paper and then keying it in. So, unless we have clear instructions on how to “use 7726”, I don’t think I’ll be using it. Also, I’m surprised I’ve heard nothing from my mobile phone network about this, so I’m wondering how seriously they are taking this service.

Member

I presume that the messages are screened to help identify the most serious problems, such as major scams. I cannot find anything on the Ofcom website that says how the forwarded messages are used.

Member
M Dawson says:
14 April 2015

When I receive a spam text, I hit the “save contact” then copy the number before hitting the “cancel” button so I don’t actually store the number. Then forward to spam, they send a message back saying “thanks, now can you forward the number” that’s when I paste the number and hit reply.
Sounds complicated, but it doesn’t take long and it saves writing the number down.

Member

Yes, it was labour intensive and I agree that not everyone would wish to spend time using the 7726 system. Typically, I typed in the offending number and sent it off to 7726 as a text. They replied, thanking me for contacting them and saying that if I wanted to use this service then I should enter the offending phone number. Having repeated this I got a message thanking me for sending the number, but no confirmation as to what they were going to do about it. I felt that anything was better than having these crooks badger me with loan shark deals, but admit the operation was a little quaint and would make good material for a comedy sketch.

Member

7726 does represent all UK mobile operators joining forces to combat spam texts. The tool collates all the information from the 7726 short code in real time – which means they can take early action to remove the numbers which are generating the spam from their networks.

I’ll have to agree with you that the mechanism itself is a little clunky – you will usually have to send a second text telling the system the number the spam text came from – but in the battle against spam

The more reports are made, the more likely we’ll be reading more good news stories like this: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/04/cold-calling-claims-company-fined-80000–399703/

Considering that the tool represents such unilateral action from the industry itself I amsurprised that there is such low awareness of it.

Member

Thanks for this information, Adam. I don’t get unwanted messages but feel I may be living on borrowed time.

Member

“The more reports are made, the more likely we’ll be reading more good news stories like this: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/04/cold-calling-claims-company-fined-80000–399703/

I’m not sure what’s the good news is since the company has closed down and therefore the £80,000 will never be paid. TPS actually contacted the company 525 times but still they continued to ignore the law. The fines in these situations should be transferred to the directors.

I’m pretty certain that the same individuals will setting up another company shortly using the same methods and lists of phone numbers.

Member

I did not realise that TPS had any responsibility for policing the behaviour of companies.

At least the company that made these nuisance calls appears to have gone bust: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/apr/01/direct-assist-goes-into-liquidation-after-being-fined-80000-for-nuisance-calls

Member
mike1963 says:
14 April 2015

im not sure what phones people are using but you cANNOT forward a text you simply sent the sext to another person and having to send two texts inc a number (which is often spoofed anyway) to system manually isn’t going to work.

Member

Hi Mike, fair point. It depends on your phone – some let you forward messages, but sometimes you do have to copy and paste it and send it to 7726. You’ll then receive a reply asking for the number you received the spam text from.

Member
linda says:
14 April 2015

What about spam emails, I get loads of them

Member

Hi Linda, thanks for highlighting about spam emails. Our Tech Team have reported about this matter on the Which? Tech Daily blog – You can read more about it here:

http://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/computing-helpdesk/how-to-stop-receiving-spam-emails/

Member

Is it free to text this number?

Member

Morning Jenpet, 7726 is promoted by the mobile phone networks as a free method so there shouldn’t be any costs 🙂

Member

Evening Andrew, Thanks for the info, will give the number a try next time I get a nuisance text.

Member
renniemac says:
16 April 2015

I didn’t know I could report spam texts to my mobile phone company, but it is good to know for future reference. I had a serious accident where I was hospitalised, within 3 weeks of accident I received a couple of texts about claiming for an accident. firstly I thought how did they get my mobile number as it is not something I readily give out, secondly was my accident information or mobile number sold by either my mobile company or the hospital. this was a concern to me, regarding data protection.
I ignored the texts and after about six in all they stopped. it is the only time I have received texts from someone I don’t know, as I don’t tend to get these kinds of spam texts. this is why I was suspicious of these ones.

Member

Some new tips on blocking nuisance calls from your mobile phone: https://blogs.which.co.uk/technology/apple/how-to-stop-nuisance-calls-on-mobiles/

Have any of you tried any of this before?

Member

Here’s a new one – I received what I can only describe as a ‘nuisance whatsapp’ yesterday. A Chinese (+86) number offering me cheap Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Blocked and deleted.. but I’d never expect to receive something like that via whatsapp. Very unusual.

Member

You’re not alone George, I’ve received a few of spammy Whatsapp messages.

The advice from Whatsapp is to block the sender, disregard the message and delete it.

There isn’t any spam reporting mechanism at the moment but as Whatsapp keeps growing it might be something they will want to look at.

This money laundering social scam reportedly made use of Whatsapp & BBM – https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/social-media-scam-money-laundering-facebook-whatsapp/

Member

Interesting, thanks Adam.

What’s worrying is that to message someone on Whatsapp they have to be in your phone book – which means that my number (and therefore profile photo) is sitting in a spammy account’s list on the other side of the world.

Member

Is it free to use this service?

Member

It is indeed. All operators use the free 7726, except for Vodafone who use 87726 (also free!)

Member

Thanks George. I’m tempted to use that number for the annoying Vodafone texts asking if I am happy with their service. 🙂

Member
Roger says:
5 May 2015

I had never heard of the 7726 facility until today and funnily enough I had just had a spam SMS message, but it was not intuitive how I could forward the message.
After some thought, I held my finger down on the text message on my iPhone and the choice came up to “Copy” the message which I tapped. I then started a new message to 87726 (I am with TalkTalk who piggy back on Vodafone) and pasted the spam and sent it and immediately got a reply from Vodafone thanking me for the report and asking for the number from which the original spam came. When I sent that they acknowledged with a promise to investigate and block the number.
Time will tell if this really does reduce the SPAM.

Member
Ally says:
23 May 2015

Can I use this for companies if I’m a customer of theirs? I never give more contact details than I’m forced to provide and always tick the boxes to opt out of sales communication. Despite these precautions, I have started receiving nuisance texts from John Lewis Financial Services. First of all they sent messages about offers at Waitrose. I replied back with the STOP message and I was charged a premium rate fee! Now they’re sending John Lewis messages instead but I don’t want to pay another fee to opt out. Can they really charge premium rate fees for STOP messages? Is it fair that I have to opt out separately for different categories of message? Will 7726 deal with the messages even though I’m a JLFS customer?

Member

Why are “Surveys” exempt from TPS cold calling rules ? Majority are obviously generating leads to sell on to others. Latest call included one survey question and argued strongly that because of it they’re exempt from TPS….. and even the genuine surveys I don’t want to take part or be repeatedly disturbed in my own home

Member

Hi Redsquirrel, the TPS only applies to sales and marketing calls. But if you ask them to stop contacting you and they continue to do so, you are within your rights to complain to the ICO.

Here’s a snippet from the TPS’s FAQ webpage, too:

‘Will registering on the TPS stop market research calls?

No, market research calls are not covered in the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 therefore companies conducting these types of calls are still allowed to call a TPS registered number. If you do not want to receive such calls, inform the caller to remove your details from their call lists.’

Member

You are absolutely right Andrew, but some of us regard market research calls as nuisance calls – because they are a nuisance.

Member

I completely agree, wavechange! Because I’m not great at saying no to surveys (on the phone or face-to-face on the street), I used to get away with saying I wasn’t the homeowner or that I wasn’t over 18. It’s funny how they’d quickly stop trying. 😀

Member
Stephen Evans says:
7 July 2015

HI, my partner has been having phone calls on her mobile about 1am 2am sometimes 3am withheld number when she answers there,s no answer the other side what can we do about this, she has to keep her phone on because of family reasons.

Member

I had the same problem a while ago and was advised to install an app called “Truecaller” which can actually identify the name of most numbers and also has a built in function to block individual numbers so they can’t call again! I’ve had it on for about a month now and it seems to work well since the log shows several subsequent calls that were blocked after I had used the “blocking function”. Also after the first call and after its identified who it is calling you will see the name and not the number come up on the call or log.

Member

Hi Stephen

I’m very sorry to hear this, in my opinion this kind of behaviour is tantamount to harassment

We have produced a guide to stopping nuisance calls which you can find here: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/action/how-to-stop-nuisance-phone-calls-

You may also be interested in call blocking technology – which can block calls from withheld numbers – Ofcom have produced a handy guide to these which you can find here: http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/phone/tackling-nuisance-calls-and-messages/phone-company-services-that-can-help-tackle-nuisance-calls/

I hope this helps – let us know how you get on

Member
Peter Burch says:
8 July 2016

I just received a spam text from ‘IdealLotto’:
“Buy 1 and get 2 Free on the EuroMillions tonight
Bet now over 18s T&C apply: Text STOP to unsubscribe”

I forwarded it to 7726 (I’m on Three) and got a reply saying:
“Thanks for reporting your spam text. Please reply to this message with the spam sender’s number, so that we can look into this for you”.

I sent back the unsubscribe number from the original text and got a further reply from Three:
“Thanks. The number you sent is now logged as a spam sender. We will aim to get it blocked. Thanks for helping us combat spam.”

Unfortunately, I have no way to know if the original message was from the unsubscribe number… the sender just shows as ‘IdealLotto’ and there is no number. Also unfortunately, since a recent upgrade to Android, SMS messages no longer show in the call logs (they used to!) on my Galaxy Note 4.

I’m thinking that sending a ‘STOP’ message might be unwise and M Dawson’s advice above to save the contact details (to show the number it came from) doesn’t work on my Galaxy Note 4… there are no contact details to store as part of the message so touching the contact’s icon doesn’t do anything! (That’s the same with texts from my employer who uses a name but withholds the number).

he phone companies (hopefully under guidance from Which?) need to address this issue. The current situation is unacceptable.