Phone spam texts set to double this year

by Dale Wright

No matter how careful you are with your mobile phone number, some companies seem to get hold of it anyway. As soon as one expensive loan provider has your digits, you start getting spam texts. Soon enough all of their mates are in on the act as well, bombarding you with offers for personal loans or inviting you to lodge an injury claim.

Many of these texts have no way to opt out, as replying with the word STOP – the standard procedure for opting out – doesn’t work. That’s against the rules, but it happens very regularly. Some unscrupulous companies will even call you regardless of whether you check the ‘do not SMS’ box on an application form.

I recently changed my mobile number, and it’s the first time I can remember that I’ve not had a spam text for a good few weeks. It seems that I am not alone – experts reckon that eight million unsolicited junk texts are sent to our mobiles every single day. Sending spam texts isn’t illegal though, and the companies who send these texts often can not be traced anyway.

Last year, the Information Commissioners Office received more than 800 complaints about spam text messages – in the first five months of this year, they received more than 1,000. It looks like the figures are set to double in 2011.

So what can you do about spam texts? Most mobile phone operators have a special free number which you can use to forward spam texts – on Vodafone this is VSPAM for example, or 76787. On o2, it is 7726. There is no clear evidence that this stops spamming, but Vodafone say they use the data to measure how much spam is being sent, allowing organisations like the Information Commissioners Office to act on the data. o2 say they will block any phone numbers mentioned in spam messages so that customers don’t get caught out by calling them.

If you’ve been texted by people who are charging you for receiving the texts, it’s normally up to you to track down the company and start a Moneyclaim at the small claims court to get the money back. You can also try the new PhonePayPlus website to find out who is texting you and report them.

Do you suffer from endless SMS spam?

 

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