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Yes, you are getting way more spam texts than before

Americans averaged 42 spam texts in the month of March.

spam text message on iphone
Image: KnowTechie

There was a time when you’d perhaps get an annoying call at dinner time once a week from a telemarketer, a running joke among Boomers. Why always dinner time for the spam calls? Because there’s a better chance of people being at home.

Now, with our phones basically always in our hands or in our pockets, why wait until dinner time? For that matter, why call at all?

Like many smartphone users, spammers have adapted to general smartphone behavior, that is, they’ll happily send a spam text message instead of a call.

According to RoboKiller, an app that blocks these annoying spam texts and calls, on average Americans received 42 spam texts in the month of March. This isn’t just an annoying occurrence, it’s a fraudulent one that works.

spam texts in 2022
Image: RoboKiller

Americans lost over $131 million to text scams alone in 2021, according to the FTC. These texts are usually some sort of casual bait, inviting the user to follow a link.

Eventually, either data is stolen that allows access to money or money itself is stolen directly thanks to the general gullibility of the average American.

The FCC handled a 146% increase in complaints about unwanted text messages in 2020 but it is still trying to work with phone carriers to implement something that handles this nonsense.

While email services have long managed to do at least the minimum when it comes to spam (Gmail not only allows some spam still but marks it as important for some reason), phone companies have been slow to the mark.

None of that is stopping spammers, however

cans of spam on a shelf
Image: Unsplash

Meanwhile, spammers just do shit like spoofing users’ phone numbers to get people to click links in spam texts. They are even messing with FaceTime calls in an attempt to sucker people.

Then, of course, there are social media scams, because we all want to send money to someone to get some imaginary crypto.

Basically, our reliance on our smartphones has given scammers the advantage of volumetric results. Send out an infinite amount of spam through all smartphone-capable channels, and get results.

We have a clear attachment to our smartphones, and the pandemic only strengthened that bond. So it makes sense that spammers would step up their efforts throughout our stay-at-home days. What this has led to, however, is a market for spammers that shows no signs of slowing.

They have found more inventive ways to communicate through text. We get spam texts appearing to have originated in our area code, or that might be from that friend we haven’t talked to in a while. It’s getting harder to tell the difference.

Tips and tricks to manage spam calls and texts

verizon spam text on an iphone
Image: KnowTechie

Some of us have had the same cellular phone number for upwards of two decades, so we have learned at least a few methods for dealing with the constant barrage of spam.

  • Never respond to a number that isn’t in your contacts list – If you don’t keep a contact list, then how in the hell do you remember who is calling?
  • Curiosity is the devil – If the text makes you curious and you kind of want to respond, block and delete it instead. It might be your mom’s new number, but that’s her fault for being obtuse.
  • Don’t use your name or number on your voice mail – Why would you do that? People either know who they are calling or they don’t. Voice mail is the ruin of society, but if you use it, just leave silence where your information should be. Friends and family are in your contact list, and everyone else can be left guessing. Plus, with telemarketers, they’ll think they’ve reached a dead line.
  • Turn off auto-text replies – Are you insane? This is like tickling the taint of every spammer out there. All you’re doing is letting them know they’ve reached an active number and can try again and again.
  • Reply to every spam text with a picture of a dog taking a shit – If you are going to allow these texts, might as well have fun with them. Of course, that’s just inviting more spam texts.
  • Throw your phone into the ocean and withdraw from society – Build a shack in the woods, write your manifesto. Spammers will never bug you again.
  • Never answer the phone – This one is a given.

As technology continues to move forward, so will the efforts of scammers and fraudsters. While cell carriers still struggle to do what they feel like doing as it pertains to text spam, we have to learn how to recognize and fight it.

Yet, as this practice has been going on as long as phones have existed, it appears that the general public is just gullible enough to support an industry of cheats. Everyone gets spammed, but not everyone has to get scammed by the spam. Stay vigilant.

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Back at it. Writing tech news/opinion so Josiah doesn't slap me (or so he will, depends on the day). Follow on Twitter @cebsilver for them jokes. Chaotic neutral.

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