A blog posting complaining about unwanted text messages on prepaid AT&T phones caught our eye recently. In the posting, a woman complains about having to pay text-messaging fees for spam text messages she received and AT&T's apparent inability to do anything to control the problem. This is not an uncommon issue. Most carriers charge for every text message received, whether the message is legitimate or spam. AT&T customers can log in to their MyWireless online accounts and disable marketing from AT&T via text message, but this does little to address the problem since text messages from AT&T are generally free. Some users have reported being able to cut down on text message spam by asking their carrier to block certain numbers from sending text messages. For example, a user who consistently receives spam messages from an auto insurance provider using a particular number could be blocked. Unfortunately, since spam can come from virtually any number, this is a half-solution at best. Another option could be disable messages that come via companies? web portals (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). This may prevent spammers who try to mass e-mail numbers associated with a companies? wireless web portal. This will not protect against messages that originate from cell phones, however. Unfortunately, because American wireless providers are allowed to charge for text messages received (versus Europe and elsewhere where all expenses are incurred by the sender), this is unlikely to change soon. The best bet for customers who receive unwanted text spam is to contact their provider and ask for a credit for the fees incurred receiving the message. Finally, changing your mobile number may solve the problem as well since the new number is unlikely to be in spammers? databases.
Source: Telecommunications Research and Action Center. http://www.trac.org