Spam is familiar to most Internet and email users. In fact, most people are accustomed to spending several minutes each day deleting spam from their email inboxes. But spam is not limited to email anymore. In the wake of the wireless age, spammers have devised some very clever ways to send spam to your cell phone as well. Fortunately, you don't have to put up with it if you know how to report cell-phone spam.
Reporting Cell Phone Spam
Review the laws regarding spam. The Federal Communications Commission enacted the CAN-SPAM Act in 2003.
Know that marketers who do not comply with the CAN-SPAM law and continue to send spam to your cell phone can face up to a year in prison and huge fines.
Report a violation of cell-phone spam to the Federal Communications Commission (see Resources below).
Preventing Future Cell Phone Spam
Keep your cell-phone records private. Believe it or not, cell-phone records can be purchased on the Internet in some cases, including a record of calls made and received. To deter this, ask your carrier to remove the call details from your bill entirely.
Make sure your contact information (and that of others) is completely removed from your cell phone before you sell, trade or donate it. Otherwise, your information may end up in the wrong hands and could be sold or traded.
Ask your carrier to include your phone number in the no-spam database. The Federal Communications Commission now requires wireless service providers to furnish the domain names of subscribers who do not wish to receive advertisements on their cell phones when the message is being rerouted from an email address.
- Be guarded about who you give your cell-phone number to. Often, surveys and certain applications will ask for your cell-phone number. What you may not realize is that in the fine print you've authorized the company to send you text messages.
- There's a major difference in how the CAN-SPAM law relates to spam received in email and on a cell phone. The law allows advertisers to send spam to email addresses, providing they include a link to "opt out" from receiving further communications. Marketers who send advertising messages to a cell phone, however, must obtain permission from the subscriber beforehand.