Find out why cellphone companies now must block obvious scam texts
Tired of getting spam text messages and phone calls? Kurt "The CyberGuy" Knutsson shares three apps you can use to help identify and block unwanted text and calls.
We've all gotten those incredibly annoying robocalls on our phones. Although, over the last few years, scam text messages have grown into an out-of-control nuisance. I tend to get a lot claiming that I have an online order that has been canceled or that an account that I don't have has been hacked.
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According to the Federal Trade Commission, the complaints that they have received about scam text messages have gone up from 3,300 complaints in 2015 to 18,900 in the last year. Now, the FCC is making phone companies crack down on these scammers.
The FCC has officially come up with new rules for cell phone service providers that will make them have to block any robotext messages the agency says are highly likely to be illegal.
These messages include texts from numbers like unused and invalid numbers, as well as those that government agencies identify as not for texting. This will specifically target spam text messages which have been a growing concern.
MORE: SPAM TEXTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL, SAY ALL 51 ATTORNEYS GENERAL
The new rules will also require cell phone companies to establish a point of contact for people who believe their text message was incorrectly blocked. The FCC is still searching for other ways to block these spam messages.
The regulatory agency says they want to use authentication measures and expand the list of illegal texters to include numbers tied to entities that the FCC has previously cited as illegal robotexters.
They reportedly want to close the "lead generator loophole," which allows multiple marketers to take advantage of a single consent from a consumer to receive text messages and robocalls on their device.
MORE: HOW TO SEND SPAM CALLS DIRECTLY TO VOICEMAIL ON YOUR PHONE
Here are some things you can do if you ever receive a call or a text from a number you don't recognize:
Don't pick up or answer the message: if there is a number you don't recognize, it's best for you not to answer the call or text in case it is spam
Block the number: you can find instructions for how to block unknown callers for iPhones and Androids here
Use your carrier's spam and robocall blocking service: big companies like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all have free spam and robocall blocking services for their users. Contact your provider to learn more
Use third-party spam-blocking apps: iPhones and Androids have apps available for users to download to detect spam calls before they reach you. Because, after all, an annoying text or call is just annoying. Some of the best ones are:
iPhone: 4.5 stars (at the time of publishing)
Android 4.2 stars (at the time of publishing)
RoboKiller is a mobile app designed to block unwanted and spam calls on your smartphone. It uses advanced algorithms and machine learning technology to detect and block robocalls, telemarketers, and other unwanted calls in real time.
HOW TO RECORD CALLS ON YOUR PHONE
The app also includes features such as caller ID, custom call blocking, and integration with your phone's contact list to personalize your call-blocking experience.
Additionally, the app offers a spam text blocker and a feature that allows you to answer spam calls with pre-recorded audio messages designed to waste the time of telemarketers and scammers. It is available on both iPhone and Android devices.
iPhone: 4.5 stars (at the time of publishing)
Android: 4.2 stars (at time of publishing)
The Call Control app is a mobile application that helps users manage and block unwanted calls and text messages on their smartphones. It uses a comprehensive database of known spam numbers to automatically block calls and texts from those numbers.
You can also create your own personal block list and whitelist for specific contacts. The app also provides real-time caller ID and number lookup, so you can identify incoming calls and decide whether to answer or block them.
Additionally, the app can help you avoid phone scams by alerting you to known fraudulent numbers. The app is available on both iPhone and Android devices.
INVASIVE CELLPHONE SURVEILLANCE MONITORS CALLS AND TEXT MESSAGES
iPhone: 4.5 stars (at time of publishing)
Android: 4.5 stars (at time of publishing)
Truecaller is a mobile app that helps you identify and block spam calls and messages. The app works by collecting information from your contact lists, including phone numbers and email addresses, and using that information to create a database of phone numbers.
This database is then used to identify incoming calls and messages, even if the number is not saved in your contacts. In addition to identifying incoming calls and messages, Truecaller allows you to block calls and messages from unwanted numbers, as well as mark numbers as spam.
You can also search for phone numbers and see who they belong to, as well as view profiles of other people using Truecaller. There’s a premium subscription service, which provides you with additional features such as the ability to see who has viewed your profile, the ability to record phone calls, and an ad-free experience. The app is available for both Android and iOS devices.
I hope all this helps you to combat those nasty scammers, and hopefully, we can all enjoy a little less annoyance and a lot more peace of mind when our phones ring or buzz.
Have you been receiving a lot of spam text messages lately? Which methods have you found to be most useful for blocking them?
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