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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.
’ ” 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?
To really put a dent in text spam, the mobile phone companies need to upgrade their spam filters. A cynic might note that the wireless providers have little incentive to expend that effort, since it costs them essentially nothing to transmit the data, and they actually profit from spam messages received by people who don’t have unlimited texting plans.
Spokespeople for Verizon and AT&T insisted to me that they’re doing all they can, and noted that the volume of mobile spam remains tiny compared to email spam.
If he’s right, perhaps mobile spam will be held down to the level of a minor annoyance for most. 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.Blocking messages from the Internet is also unlikely to cut down on the volume of spam you receive.Sending texts from the Web used to be a popular method for mobile spammers, who could try endless random combinations of numbers in hopes of a few hits.
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.