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” “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.
Consider a text that invites you to “Test & keep unreleased i Phone5!
” Follow the link and it will admit that some “testing and participation” is required before you claim your prize.
It first asks you to confirm your email address, then requests your name, date of birth, phone number, and mailing address.
A few clicks later, you’re asked to enter your credit card number so they can charge a small .99 shipping fee.
Two years ago, I got a text message from a number with a Las Vegas area code. Spammers’ lists of numbers have been multiplying as they shift their focus from email to mobile phones to take advantage of cellphone companies’ weaker spam filters.
“Now, I’d say most people have been exposed to it themselves.” If you haven’t, you will be soon.
’ ” 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.