Spam texts are fast becoming a regular annoyance for many of us. According to the ICO, there have been more than 30,000 unsolicited calls and texts reported in the last six months. So what’s being done about it?
Ooh I’ve got a text! Oh, it’s just another offer to help me reclaim my (non-existent) PPI insurance. Ooh, another message! Damn, just a company trying to help me get money for that injury that never happened. These are both examples of spam texts.
I’ve certainly noticed an increase in the number of these unsolicited texts sent to my own mobile phone. I’m clearly not alone according to the figures from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), and those are just the cases that have been reported. The true numbers must be much higher.
Commenter Kev shared his experiences of spam texts on a previous Conversation:
‘I’ve never given my phone number out to anyone outside of my immediate family, but I still receive dozens of spam texts every day. Found my only option is to set the phone to a silent alert for all incoming text calls, except for friends. Unsolicited texts are apparently illegal but it’s a pointless law unless somebody is prepared to enforce it.’
Spam filters for mobile phones
My hotmail account, which I’ve had forever, has managed to build up quite a nice collection of spam emails over the years. But thankfully the junk mail folder deals with the majority of them nicely. With the influx of unsolicited texts, perhaps mobile providers should offer some kind of spam filter for your phone?
Well, we asked four of the main mobile providers about what they were doing about the problem. They came back with lots of promising sounding phrases, such as ‘spam filtering solutions’ and a ‘spam firewall’, all of which are being assessed or coming soon. I’d like to encourage providers to make sure that spam filtering technologies are firmly on their agenda.
Of course, it’s not just the industry that should be doing something about this. Their efforts should be part of a joined up approach along with Ofcom and the ICO (who have the power to fine the senders of unsolicited texts up to £500,000) to ensure we have a system that prosecutes offenders and protects consumers.
Finally, a word of warning, don’t reply to a spam text if you don’t know where it’s come from. Even texting ‘STOP’ or asking to be taken off their list could just confirm that your number’s active. Instead, you can report these unwanted texts to your mobile provider, as well as the ICO, which will allow them to investigate.
If you’re with Orange, O2 or T-Mobile, forward them to 7726. For Vodafone users, forward the text to 87726. And for Three Mobile customers, send them to 37726. If you’re with another provider, you better ask them what number they use to report spam texts. Have you seen an influx of spam texts to your mobile?
What do you find most annoying?
All three are equally annoying (57%, 376 Votes)
Nuisance phone calls (31%, 207 Votes)
Spam text messages (7%, 47 Votes)
Spam emails (5%, 34 Votes)
Total Voters: 668