(Damn you auto-correct, I meant “free Wal-Mart cards,” not ”free walnut cards!
”) Rather, they use customized computer programs to generate and send hundreds of messages in a matter of minutes, varying the wording, capitalization, and punctuation to evade the phone companies' rudimentary spam filters.
’ ” says Mike Reading, Cloudmark’s director of technology for the Americas.
To end reply STOP.” Annoyed, I typed “STOP” and hit send. “Six months ago, when I would tell people I work for an anti-spam company and work on mobile spam, they’d all wonder, ‘What’s mobile spam?
The past three years, however, have brought a proliferation of cheap, prepaid cellphone plans with unlimited text messaging. In 2009, Americans received some 2.2 billion text messages that they identified as spam, by the estimate of Richi Jennings, an independent market analyst. But even that figure doesn’t capture the biggest boom, which has come in just the past few months, according to Cloudmark, a San Francisco-based firm that provides messaging security for major wireless carriers.
But that method was easily stymied, because wireless companies can separately track and filter such messages.
There were ways around the charges, like sending the spam messages from the Internet rather than a mobile phone.
Text spam used to be rare in the United States because, compared with the email equivalent, sending texts was expensive.
(To ensure that’s the case, follow up your spam reports by calling up your wireless provider and asking to have the relevant text-message charge removed from your bill.) Reading tells me his company’s latest spam filter has the capacity to identify and block most of the current wave of mobile scams before they reach customers.Verizon, for its part, has managed to track down and sue some 20 spammers over the years.Cloudmark, the message-security company, says domestic wireless providers may not have always made mobile spam their top priority, but they are making a genuine effort to respond now that unwanted messages are spiking stateside. ” “You have 1 unread message from your secret crush! I ignored some, replied “STOP” to others, and even tried calling back in the vain hope of confronting my tormentors. I’ve long known not to click the links in spam emails, but 10 years of spam-free cellphone ownership had lulled me into complacency when it came to texts. Every buzz meant another text message charge on my bill. As I belatedly realized, a reply of any kind confirms to cellphone spammers that they’ve reached a working number—which they can then sell to other spammers.
Your surest defense is to avoid replying to any mobile spam and to hold off on typing in your cellphone number on websites you don’t fully trust.