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10 Ways to Stop Spam Texts on iPhone/Android

Person texting on a Visible phone

Spam text messages have become an irritating and intrusive problem for smartphone users. These unsolicited messages flood our inboxes, causing frustration and posing potential security risks. Never fear, Visible is here with some tips to help you identify, intercept and block unwanted messages.

What are spam text messages?

Spam text messages, often known as "SMS spam," are unsolicited and irrelevant messages sent to your phone without your consent. These messages typically promote dubious products or services or contain phishing attempts to steal sensitive information from unsuspecting users.

Example of spam text messages

Spam text messages can take various forms to deceive recipients. Here are some common examples:

  • Fake prize or gift card offers to entice with the promise of winning a prize or receiving a gift card. Example: "Congratulations! You've won a $100 gift card! Click the link below to claim your prize."

  • Phishing attempts posing as legitimate organizations, such as banks or online payment services, to trick recipients into divulging sensitive information. Example: "URGENT: Your bank account has been compromised. Click the link and enter your login credentials to secure your account."

  • Malicious links that lead to harmful websites designed to infect devices with malware or steal personal data. Example: "Check out this amazing deal! Click here to get 80% off on all products."

  • Loan or credit scams pretending to offer easy loans or approvals, targeting individuals in need of financial assistance. Example: "Get instant cash with no credit check! Text 'LOAN' to 12345 to apply."

  • Charity and donation scams pretending to be from charitable organizations and seeking donations for fake causes. Example: "Help those in need! Contribute to our disaster relief fund by clicking the link and donating."

Now you know what they look like (and let’s face it, we’ve all seen them before!) here are some ways to stop them:

  • Block spam texts on your Android
  • Block spam texts on your iPhone
  • Don't click on message links
  • Use your phone’s spam filters
  • Don’t respond
  • Report spam to your carrier
  • Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry
  • Use spam-blocking apps

Block spam numbers on your Android

  1. Launch the messaging app on your Android phone. This is the app where you receive and send text messages.

  2. Locate the spam text you want to block in the list of messages. These messages are often from unfamiliar numbers or contain suspicious content.

  3. Long-press (press and hold) the spam text you want to block. A menu will appear, offering various actions related to that specific message.

  4. Select the option that says "Block" or "Block/report spam." The exact wording may vary depending on your Android device and messaging app.

  5. After selecting the "Block" or "Block/report spam" option, a confirmation message may appear, asking if you want to block the number. Confirm your decision to proceed.

  6. Once you've blocked the spam number, you’ll be protected from further texts from that source.

Keep in mind that different Android devices and messaging apps might have slight variations in the wording, but the general process of blocking spam texts remains consistent. Some messaging apps may automatically label suspected spam, making it easier for you to identify.

Block spam numbers on your iPhone

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone. This is where you receive and send text messages.

  2. Locate the spam text message you want to block in the list of messages. Spam messages often come from unfamiliar numbers or contain suspicious content.

  3. In the message thread, tap on the sender's phone number or name at the top of the conversation. A menu with various options will appear.

  4. Scroll down in the menu until you find the option that says "Block this Caller." Tap on it to initiate the blocking process.

  5. A confirmation prompt will appear, asking if you are sure you want to block the sender. Confirm to proceed with blocking.

  6. Once you've blocked the sender, you won't receive any more messages from that specific number or contact. Blocked messages will no longer appear in your message thread.

Please note that blocking a contact on your iPhone will not notify the sender that they have been blocked. They will simply no longer be able to reach you via text message.

Avoid clicking on any links contained within messages from unrecognized senders. These could contain:

  1. Malicious Websites: Spam texts often include deceptive links that may lead to malicious websites designed to trick you into revealing personal information. They may imitate legitimate websites to appear convincing, making it challenging to differentiate them from genuine sites.

  2. Phishing Attacks: Some spam messages employ phishing tactics to steal your confidential information. Fake login pages can appear similar to a familiar service like your bank or an online store. If you enter your login credentials on a fraudulent page, the scammers capture your information and gain unauthorized access to your accounts.

  3. Malware Downloads: Clicking on links within spam texts can trigger downloads of malicious software (malware) onto your device. Malware can range from viruses and worms to spyware and ransomware. Once installed, malware can compromise your device's security, steal data, or even lock your files until you pay a ransom to the attacker.

Be cautious even if the message seems urgent or claims that you need to take immediate action. Legitimate organizations typically do not communicate important matters via unsolicited text messages.

Use your iPhone’s spam filters

For enhanced protection against spam texts, you can also enable the built-in spam filter.

  1. Locate and open the "Settings" app. It has a gear-shaped icon.

  2. In the Settings menu, scroll down and tap on "Messages."

  3. Under the "Message Filtering" section, you should see an option labeled "Filter Unknown Senders." Toggle the switch next to this option to enable the spam filter.

Once you've enabled the "Filter Unknown Senders" option, your iPhone will automatically separate messages from unknown senders into a separate "Unknown Senders" list in the Messages app.

It's important to note that this built-in spam filter is designed to detect messages from senders who are not in your contacts list. While it can help identify some spam texts, it may not catch all types of spam and conversely will filter texts from non-contacts that aren’t spam. You want to check this folder periodically so you don’t inadvertently ghost people.

Use your Android’s spam filters

For enhanced protection against spam texts, you can also enable the built-in spam filter.

  1. Locate and open the "Messaging" app.

  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner in the search bar.

  3. Navigate to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Spam Protection’.

  4. Scroll down to the toggle button for ‘Enable Spam Protection’ and turn it on.

Not all Androids have the exact same features and settings, so if you can’t find an option for spam protection you may not have one. Refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for more details.

Don’t respond

When you receive a spam text message, it's essential to resist the temptation to respond, even if the message suggests replying with "STOP" to unsubscribe. Why?

By responding to a spam text, you are confirming to the sender that your phone number is active and valid. This can be valuable information for spammers, indicating they have reached a working number. As a result, they may add your number to their list of active contacts and continue to send more spam texts or even sell your number to other spammers, leading to an increase in unwanted messages.

In some cases, spammers may include an "unsubscribe" option to give the illusion of legitimacy. Don’t fall for it! By avoiding any interaction with spam messages, you can minimize the chances of becoming a target for further spam and protect your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

Report spam to your carrier

Reporting text messages as spam to your carrier contributes to the ongoing efforts in combating spam. Here's how to do it:

  1. You can forward the spam message to a designated number depending on your carrier. In the United States, the common shortcode for reporting spam messages is 7726 (SPAM), but this may vary depending on your carrier and region.

  2. Create a new text message and copy the spam message into it. Ensure that no alterations or additional comments are added to the message, as the carrier needs the original content to identify the spam.

  3. Send the newly composed message with the spam content to the designated number (e.g., 7726 or SPAM). Your carrier will receive the report and take appropriate action based on the information provided.

4. Delete it immediately

Add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry

The National Do Not Call Registry is a service provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, and it allows consumers to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls from legitimate businesses. Here's how you can add your number:

  1. Go to the official National Do Not Call Registry website, which is managed by the FTC. The website's URL is

  2. Register Your Phone Number: On the website's homepage, you will find a section to "Register Your Phone Number." Enter the phone number(s) you want to add to the Do Not Call list. You can register both landline and mobile phone numbers.

  3. Verify Your Registration: After entering your phone number(s), click on the "Submit" or "Register" button. The website will prompt you to verify your registration by providing an email address. Check your email for a confirmation message from the National Do Not Call Registry and follow the instructions to complete the registration process.

Once your registration is complete, your phone number(s) will be added to the National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers are required by law to consult this registry and refrain from calling the numbers listed on it. However, the National Do Not Call Registry does not block all calls. Some calls, such as those from political organizations, charities, and companies with which you have an existing business relationship, are exempt from the registry's rules.

Use spam-blocking apps

Using spam-blocking apps is an effective way to enhance your defenses against spam texts and unwanted messages on your smartphone. These apps identify and block spam messages, providing an extra layer of protection beyond the built-in features of your device's messaging app. Here's how spam-blocking apps work:

  1. Message Analysis: Spam-blocking apps analyze incoming text messages, looking for patterns, keywords, and other indicators commonly associated with spam. They use algorithms to identify and distinguish between legitimate messages and potential spam.

  2. Database Comparison: These apps often compare incoming messages with an extensive database of known spam numbers and content. If a message matches a known spam pattern, it is automatically flagged and blocked.

  3. User Reporting: Some spam-blocking apps allow users to report spam messages they receive.

  4. Customization: Many spam-blocking apps offer customization options, allowing users to adjust the level of filtering or whitelist certain contacts to ensure important messages are not mistakenly blocked.

By following these tips, you can significantly reduce spam text messages on your iPhone or Android device, ensuring a more enjoyable and secure mobile experience.

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