In 2003, Congress passed the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act, which makes it illegal to send unsolicited commercial e-mail messages to wireless devices, such as cell phones, without first receiving the consumer's permission.
The CAN-SPAM Act works together with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which created the National Do Not Call Registry. The Registry contains a list of phone numbers that telemarketers are prohibited from calling unless they have an established business relationship with the consumer or are otherwise exempt, such as tax-exempt non-profit organizations.
So, how do you stop spam text messages? Below are some tips from the Better Business Bureau of Washington.
- Register Phones: Visit http://www.donotcall.gov/ to register phones on the National Do Not Call Registry to prevent unsolicited text messages and phone calls. Violators can be reported to this same resource.
- Understand Permissions: Regardless of National Do Not Call Registry participation, consumers who have given prior consent or have an established business relationship with the sender are not protected under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Many retail stores ask for phone numbers at checkout; while some are gathering demographics, others are sending shoppers text messages. Before releasing numbers, ask if they're required and how they'll be used.
- Block Messages: Contact wireless providers. Many allow users to refuse messages from certain delivery types. Ask providers for help with reducing and reporting spam.
- Don't Text Back: Spammers thrive on feedback, so don't respond to unknown text messages. If excessive unwanted messages continue, consider changing phone numbers.