Put an End to Cell Phone Spam

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It's a sad fact that most of us are exposed to an endless flood of unsolicited messages from purported international dignitaries, dubious pharmaceutical salespeople, and pornographers--a deluge that invades our PCs each day. To make matters worse, spam is now infiltrating the mobile phone, too, where it not only wastes your time but also costs you money. Text messages consume your precious data allowance, and sales calls eat away your valuable voice minutes.

The good news: It doesn't have to be that way. Follow these tips, and you'll eliminate spam from your phone. Whether you get uninvited text messages, e-mail spam on your smart phone, or even sales calls, you can stop all forms of cellular spam by taking these easy steps.

Block Text-Message Spam

Some people go years without ever receiving text-message spam, while others are bothered frequently. Though mobile spam is usually against the law, sales pitches might come to you legally as a result of your buying something on your phone. Illegal messages might appear because a spammer guessed your phone number. And since mobile phone companies allow PCs to send you text messages at a certain e-mail address, often your_phone_number@your_phone_company.com, spammers need only make an educated guess to come up with thousands of valid addresses.

To stop nearly all mobile spam but still receive texts from other phones, block text messages that originate from computers.

You can disable or modify your phone's e-mail address to block unwanted messages, while still permitting texts from other phones. Text-message blocking methods vary from carrier to carrier, but usually you can find helpful tools on your carrier's Web site. For example, with AT&T, sign in to mymessages.wireless.att.com instead of the main billing site. Click the two check boxes to block MMS (multimedia message service) and text messages sent through e-mail.

Additionally, most carriers let you create an alias for your phone's e-mail address, so you can use something other than your phone number. Changing your address will help thwart most text spam that could come from someone guessing or knowing your phone number. With AT&T, choose the drop-down menu to block messages, and then click Message Options to configure your new e-mail address. Click Submit to save the changes.

Set up a nickname for your texting account to prevent spammers from sending unwanted text messages by guessing your phone number.
The above examples are specific to AT&T's wireless service, but the same features are available to Verizon Wireless customers at text.vzw.com, to Sprint customers at sso.sprintpcs.com, and to T-Mobile customers at my.t-mobile.com.

Note that these actions will also block text messages from airlines or other companies you may want to hear from. Be sure to give those companies your updated address, or add their domains to the Allowed list through your carrier's spam-control interface.

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