How to stop spam texts on Android & iPhone

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the number of spam text messages you receive down to zero, but imagine what a difference it would be to get one or two texts a month instead of 30. Imagine what it’d be like to have your phone buzz and know that it’s probably not a spam message.

How to stop spam texts, in short:

  1. Act at the source: remove your data from data brokers
  2. Add your number to the FTC Do Not Call Registry
  3. Ask your carrier to filter unwanted texts.
  4. Get a spam-blocking app 
  5. Leverage your iPhone’s spam blocking features
  6. Leverage your Android device’s spam blocking features

Keep reading to learn how to do this in detail.

Act at the source: remove your data from data brokers

Call-blocking services and tools will reduce the number of spam texts you receive, but only short term. If you keep receiving random text messages, then your phone number is probably available on the internet. The best and more effective way to handle spam messages is to manage your online footprint and restrict access to your personal and financial information. Read on to learn how.

Before sending you a spam text, the spammer has to know your phone number. There are several options:

  • You may have shared it publicly via social media.
  • You may have given it to a legitimate company that then suffered a data breach. 
  • You may have entered it on a scammy website that gives or sells data to spammers. 
  • Your data may be for sale on data broker sites. 

To remove your data, you can contact each data broker individually and use your knowledge of any local laws they operate under to request that they delete your data from their databases. Or, you can use a service like Incogni to remove your data from data brokers and people search sites with just a few clicks.

Add your number to the FTC Do Not Call Registry

Start by adding your number to the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry (DNC) to prevent telemarketers and other unwanted callers from contacting you. The DNC registry has been successfully preventing unwanted calls in the US since 2011, and the number of Americans who’ve registered their numbers is steadily growing. We strongly encourage you to join the club. 

Here’s how:

  1. Go to donotcall.gov.
  2. Click on “register your phone number.”
  3. Enter the phone number you want to register.
  4. Verify your phone number.
  5. Click “submit.”

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Contact your carrier to stop spam text messages 

Whoever is providing you with mobile service is probably interested in making that service non-annoying to you. That’s why you should report spam numbers and emails to your operator. That way, they can block them on their end. 

AT&T ActiveArmor Mobile Security

AT&T offers a service called AT&T ActiveArmor Mobile Security that can help you report spam messages

Here’s how you use it:

  1. Download the AT&T ActiveArmor Mobile Security app.
  2. Open the app and sign in to your AT&T account.
  3. Go to the “spam and fraud” section.
  4. Select the spam message you want to report.
  5. Tap on “report spam” to report the message to AT&T.

This tool will let AT&T know about the sender of the spam messages, which will be helpful in preventing future spam messages from reaching your phone.

Enable spam filters on Verizon, US Cellular, or T-Mobile

Most phone carriers have an app that alerts you about incoming spam calls. But don’t fret! Some providers have apps designed to help you deal with spam messages as well:

  • Verizon offers the Call Filter app. It provides spam detection, text blocking, filtering, a white-list option for iOS, and a neighborhood spoofing filter.
  • US Cellular has the Call Guardian app offering caller ID, spam alerts, and spam reporting. Also, it lets you create a personal spam block list.
  • Google Fi has blocking options in the app itself.

Get a spam-blocking app 

On Android

If you don’t want to use the Google messages app and if your cell service provider doesn’t offer any solutions, there’s still a way to stop spam texts on Android. Your best bet might be to get a spam-message blocking app. Such apps filter unknown senders and warn you of suspicious messages.

There are plenty of apps to choose from, so you can find one that works for you and stick with it. Nomorobo and RoboKiller are two of the most popular ones, but take your time to explore the market and find your perfect fit. 

On iPhone

Some third-party apps for iPhone automatically block and filter unknown messages and spam for you. To name just a few: RoboKiller, TextKiller, Hiya: Spam Blocker & Caller ID, and Nomorobo Robocall Blocking.

Once you’ve downloaded it, the app should be up and filtering by default. If it’s not, here’s how to enable (or disable) it manually through iPhone settings:

  1. Go to “settings.”
  2. Tap “messages.”
  3. Tap “unknown” and “spam” under message filtering.
  4. Pick the filtering app you downloaded and toggle it on.

Related: How to block No caller ID on iPhone

How to block unwanted text messages on iPhone

Here are a few things you can do to block spam texts on iPhone:

  1. Filter text messages from unknown senders
  2. Block a specific contact on your iPhone
  3. Turn off the notifications for spam texts from unknown senders
  4. Report spam messages to Apple
  5. Block spam texts from a specific number on your iPhone

Let’s look at each option in detail:

Filter unknown senders

This option will allow you to filter text messages and turn the notifications off for texts coming in from unknown senders. The first and best way to block spam texts on iPhone is to filter known and unknown senders.

1. Go to “settings.” and Tap “messages.”

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2. Turn on “filter unknown senders.”

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This will filter messages from people who aren’t on your contact list.

Note: Once the number gets filtered, you won’t be able to click on any links in the text message until you add that number to your contacts.

Some messages from unknown senders aren’t spam. So follow these steps if you wish to check the filtered messages and access your message filtering:

Go to your Messages app and tap “filters” in the top-left corner of the screen.

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Tap “unknown senders.”

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TIP: Turn the feature off or check the Unknown Senders tab if you expect delivery. Some couriers and delivery service providers like Door Dash and Uber Eats send texts to notify you and often change the numbers they use.

Turn off the notifications for spam texts from unknown senders

If blocking unknown callers seems too extreme, you can change the type of notification you receive for spam texts. 

To stop the pinging madness from unsaved contacts: 

  1. Go to “settings.”
  2. Select “notifications.”
  3. Tap “messages” and “customize notifications.”
  4. Switch off “unknown senders.”

Report spam messages to Apple

Apple does allow you to report spam messages, but only if you’re using iMessage (the blue-colored version of messaging). Long-press the spam message, tap “report junk,” then “delete and report junk.”

The message along with the sender’s info will be sent to Apple. Keep in mind that the message will be permanently deleted from your device, but the sender will still be able to reach you. To stop spam texts coming from the sender, block their number. 

Block spam texts from a specific number on your iPhone

Follow these steps to stop spam text messages from an individual number on iPhone:

  1. Go to the Messages app and open the conversation with the number you want to block.
  2. Tap the number or the name at the top center of the conversation.
  3. Tap “info.”
  4. Tap “block this caller.”

The number will be added to your personal block list, which you can access to unblock numbers at any time.

Block and report spam texts on Android devices

There are several things you can do to significantly reduce the number of such texts you receive on your Android device:

  1. Block spam text from a specific sender’s phone numbers
  2. How to enable spam protection on your Android phone

Block spam text from a specific sender’s phone numbers

Your Android device allows you to block phone numbers. So as soon as you receive a spam text, you can block the sender’s number and never hear from them again. This is particularly useful if you keep getting spam messages from the same number.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Open the spam message.

2. Tap the three-dot menu in the top-right corner.

3. Tap “block & report spam.”

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4. Select the checkbox and confirm by tapping “OK.”

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Blocking spam texts on an Android device without opening the text:

  1. Open the messages app.
  2. Tap and hold on the spam message.
  3. Tap the three-dot menu in the top-right corner.
  4. Tap “block.”
  5. Confirm by tapping “OK.”
  6. Optionally, mark “report spam” to also report the spam to Google. This may incur charges for sending the message.

How to enable spam protection on your Android phone

This is only an option if you’re using the Messages by Google app, but worth mentioning nonetheless. It’s the primary messaging app on many Android devices; you can download it if your phone doesn’t already have it and you don’t mind the privacy risk.

Here’s what you need to do to filter messages on this app:

1. Open the app and tap the three dots in the top-right corner of the screen.

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2. Tap on the “settings” option.

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3. Select “spam protection.”

4. Open the “spam protection” settings and toggle on the “spam protection” feature.

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How to recognize malicious spam texts

Some legitimate texts include links. And some spam text sent by legitimate companies can be stopped by replying with something like the word “STOP.”

The key difference is that marketing spam is simply annoying, while malicious spam can be very dangerous. So, it’s crucial that you be able to tell an advertisement from a malicious spam text message. Here’s how:

  • Sense of urgency: scammers try to make you feel like you have to react to their message without taking the time to think about it. If you feel pressured to take action, it’s quite likely to be a text sent by bad actors.
  • Texts from authorities: hackers often pretend to be someone with authority. The IRS won’t be sending you an SMS, nor will any other government agency. Don’t open any links or otherwise interact with messages that look like they’ve been sent from a governmental authority.
  • Bad grammar and spelling: a surprising number of hackers can’t put a sentence together. Scam messages are often poorly written and contain grammar and spelling mistakes. This is a dead giveaway of a message you can’t trust.
  • Verify suspicious activity: you may get a text message asking you to verify an account login or a transaction with a link attached to it. Once again, such messages are rarely sent by text message. Don’t click any links unless you’re 100% sure they’re legit.
  • Failed delivery attempt: another very common scam message. There was a failed attempt to deliver a package to you, click on the link to reschedule delivery. Only issue: the link is malicious and installs malware on your device.
  • Help! You may receive a spam text message from someone pretending to be a family member asking for help. Call them and make sure everything is OK, which will usually be the case. Once again, don’t click any links or otherwise interact with such texts.

Keep in mind that phone numbers are notoriously easy to spoof. Just because you think you’re getting a text message from a trusted contact, doesn’t mean that you are. Any suspicious text should be treated with caution, even if it comes from one of your closest loved ones.

Don’t answer or interact

This is more of a preventive measure to take once you receive a spam text. Don’t reply or interact with the text message in any way. By replying to a message, you show that your phone number is active, which means it will get more messages from spammers in the future.

If there is a link attached to the message, it’s very likely to contain malware. Pressing on the link may end up being a very costly mistake. Hackers can steal your sensitive information or even take complete control of your phone.

Not what you are looking for? Check out these related guides:

FAQ

What is a spam text?

A spam text message is any unwanted message you receive on your phone. This can be an SMS text or a message on communication apps such as Messenger, WhatsApp, or Viber. Most spam texts are harmless and sent to promote a product or service. But some are far more dangerous and are sent out with the intent to hack your device, steal your data, or otherwise harm you.

Why am I suddenly getting spam texts?

If you notice an increase in the number of spam text messages you receive, your number may have been leaked. Maybe one of the websites you visit had a data leak, or you entered your number into a website that wasn’t safe.

Follow the tips above to block spam messages on your Android or iOS device.

How to stop spam texts on Android for free?

There are several free ways to stop receiving spam messages on your Android phone. First, open the spam message, click the three dots in the top-right corner, click “details,” and then “block & report spam.”

If you’re using the Google messages app, open the app settings and look for “spam protection.” Enable it to receive fewer spam messages. You can also contact your cell service provider for solutions—most offer some free options.

Why am I getting texts from email addresses?

You’re getting texts from email address because of one or several of these factors:

1. You shared your phone number publicly, probably via social media.
2. A legitimate company you gave your number to suffered a data breach.
3. You gave out your number on a scam website.
4. A data broker that has gathered your data via legitimate means sold it to an advertiser or spammer.

How do I stop random emails from texting my phone?

To stop emails from texting your phone, you should:

1. Block the senders in the messages app.
2. Report them as spam.
3. Remove your data from data broker databases.

What happens if you text a scammer back?

Replying to a scam text will show the scammer that your number is being used and ready for more spam. This usually leads to you receiving more spam and scam texts from more sources. 

If you respond to the hacker’s text message, they can also determine the general area from which you sent the message.

Remember, whatever you do, don’t reply to spam messages and robo texts to avoid getting more spam.

Does the iPhone have a spam-text blocker?

iPhones have something similar to a text blocker, it’s called Filter Unknown Senders. This way Apple allows iPhone users to filter text messages and turn the notifications off for the ones coming from unknown senders.

How do I stop getting AT&T spam texts?

You can employ several methods to stop AT&T spam texts: 
1. Block it in phone settings.
2. Block it via an AT&T app. 
3. Report it to AT&T.
4. Enter it into the Do Not Call registry.
5. Use a company to make data brokers delete your data.

Is AT&T spam blocker free?

The AT&T spam blocker is officially called AT&T ActiveArmor and it’s free.

How do I get rid of spam texts permanently?

While it’s impossible to permanently stop spam because it’s always evolving and adapting, you can reduce the amount of spam you get by following one (or more) of the methods we mentioned. 

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