How to report spam text

How many spam texts do you receive each month? Too many to count? Every second you spend checking your phone when a spam text pings is a second you won’t get back. Spam texts aren’t just annoying, though, they can be properly dangerous. There’s a very thin line between spam texts and scam texts.

What is a spam text?

Spam text messages, also known as junk messages, are unwanted texts that you typically receive from unknown senders. These suspicious texts often look like they’re coming from a government agency or megacorporation, for example to warn you about suspicious activity on an account, but they’re lying.

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Spam texts are not just annoying, they’re dangerous

Having to pick up your phone a million times a day (give or take) for no good reason is bad enough, but that’s far from the full extent of the problem. Spam texts strongly overlap with scam texts and spam calls. Receiving unwanted messages might not seem so dangerous, but it very much can be.

Just the fact that these spammers have your number should be concerning. If they address you by name, that’s another piece of information they have on you. It’s a safe bet they have more. If you respond to one of these texts, they’ll know that your number is good and that you’re naive enough to respond. 

That’s when the spam calls and scam attempts start. Scammers will try various tactics to gain access to your bank account, financial information, and any other sensitive information they can leverage to somehow make a profit. Keep your data safe by nipping spam texts in the bud before the situation snowballs.

One way you can do this is by signing up for an automated data removal service like Incogni. Incogni takes a step back and targets the companies that feed spammers your personal data in the first place. These companies, known as data brokers, work in the background to spread your personal information around to anyone who’s willing to pay. Incogni helps put a stop to all of that.

How to report spam text messages

One of the most low-effort things you can do is report spam messages as they come in. This won’t stop you from receiving messages from the senders you report, but you can always block them to do that. Reporting them will help companies and regulators blacklist each sender’s number.

Forward spam messages to 7726 (SPAM)

The simplest way to report spam is to forward it to the number 7726. This number spells SPAM on a phone’s dial pad, making it easier to remember. It was the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) that reserved this number for reporting spam texts and made it toll-free.

Most major carriers in the US, like Verizon and T-Mobile, are members of the GSMA, as are 700+ phone carriers around the world. The sender’s number will automatically be appended to the forwarded text message. Each carrier can then use the message contents to improve spam detection on its network.

Android

Android phones come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, with multiple versions of Android in play at any given time. So the process for forwarding a spam text to 7726 will vary depending on your device and the version of Android that runs on it, but here are the broad strokes that should work most of the time:

  1. Long-press the spam message and select “forward” from the contextual menu.
  2. Type “7726” into the contact field and tap “send.”

Apple

Apple’s devices are infamously locked-down and homogenous, so the following instructions should work on all current iPhone models:

  1. Open the spam message by tapping on it.
  2. Long-press the message and select “more” from the contextual menu.
  3. Tap the curved blue arrow (forward symbol) at the bottom right of the screen.
  4. Type 7726 in the to field and tap the return key to send.

Depending on your device and phone carrier, you might get a follow-up message asking for the original sender’s number. Follow any instructions you receive from 7726 or your carrier to complete the spam-reporting process.

Report spam through your messaging app

You can also report spam directly from your messaging app, at least on Android devices.

Android

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Long-press the message you want to report.
  3. Tap “block,” “report spam,” and then “OK” to simultaneously block and report the spam message.

Apple

There’s no way to do the above on an iPhone, but you can at least block messages directly from the default iOS messaging app.

  1. Open the Messages app and tap on the spam message.
  2. Tap the sender’s number.
  3. Tap on “info” in the upper right of the screen.
  4. Scroll down and select “block this caller.”

Report spam text messages to the FTC and FCC

There are also two US government agencies that take spam texts very seriously. Here’s how you can report junk messages to them directly and add your number to the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a special website setup on which you can report fraud, scams, and bad business practices: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

  1. Go to the website above.
  2. Click on “report now.”
  3. Select “phone, internet, TV service” and then “cellular or landline phone service.” Click “continue.” Follow the on-screen instructions to submit a report.

The FTC also has its national Do Not Call Registry. Here you can not only report unwanted calls but also add your number to the registry to stop legitimate telemarketing and market research companies from spamming you with calls.

  1. Go to www.DoNotCall.gov.
  2. Click on “report unwanted calls” or “register your phone,” depending on what you want to do, and follow the on-screen instructions from there.

Both reporting unwanted texts and calls and registering your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry are completely free of charge. 

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

Another government agency that’s worth reaching out to is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This agency puts a strong emphasis on regulating mobile communications and has a consumer inquiries and complaint center through which you can report spam. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the FCC’s Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center page for phone complaints.
  2. Fill in the form, choosing “unwanted call/messages” under “phone issues.”
  3. Once you’re done, read and check the declaration and click “submit.”

FAQ

How can I report spam text messages?

The simplest way to report spam text messages is to forward them to the toll-free number 7726 (SPAM). You can do this by manually forwarding the suspicious message to this number or by using the built-in “report spam” function if you have an Android phone. You can also report the text to the FTC and FCC.

How do I report a text to 7726?

To report a text to 7726, simply forward the unwanted text message to the number 7726. You can do this by copying the message’s contents into a new message and typing “7726” into the “to” or “contact” field, or by forwarding the message directly from your messaging app.

Does reporting spam to 7726 do anything?

Yes, reporting spam to 7726 does quite a lot. It allows carriers and government agencies to improve their spam detection methods. Although it’s true that it won’t immediately or directly stop spam from reaching your phone, Android users have the option to simultaneously block and report spam.

Can you report spam text numbers?

Yes, there are several avenues open to you to report spam text numbers. Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have mechanisms in place to help you report spam text numbers. Android users can also report such numbers directly from their texting app.

How do I stop spam messages?

Stopping spam messages isn’t something you can do in one fell swoop—it takes weeks if not months of dedicated effort. Having your personal information removed from data brokers’ databases is the best long-term strategy, blocking and reporting spam numbers in the meantime.

Are spam texts illegal?

Depending on their source and contents, as well as what jurisdiction you live in, spam texts might be illegal. For example, California, Virginia, and Colorado all have state data privacy laws in place that make many spam texts illegal. Generally, any unwanted and unsolicited messages are likely to be illegal in such states.

Is 7726 free?

Yes, 7726 is free and won’t count toward your plan usage. This is true for all the major providers in the US and at least 700 other carriers internationally. Double check this if you have any doubts, especially if you use a small or obscure phone carrier.

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