Stop spam text messages and handy chart on reporting

by bob watson

The Clarendon Enterprise of Clarendon, Texas

Hi, gang! The snow was great; let's thank the Lord for it. This week let's have a short study on how do we stop span text messages and a handy chart on how to report them. My personal way is to not answer any area code number I don't recognize. Then I Google the number, and it will give you a list to check to see if this is a span number. I know the spammers are getting smart and now can use local area codes. This is making it harder to spot, but I know all the numbers that I normally receive. Below is an article "What you can do to avoid rising cell phone scams and fake text messages" by: Sid Kirchheimer."You won!" "Short on cash?" Every day, about 45 million spam text messages are sent to North American cell phones. If you don't have a text message plan, you'll pay around 20 cents for each one you receive. But the real cost comes if you respond to those micro messages about such things as free gift cards, cheap mortgages and meds, and urgent "account problems" at your bank. That's because at least 70 percent of all cell phone text spam is designed to defraud you in some way, Spam in text messages may try to guide you to shady websites that will install "malware" on your phone to vacuum up all the personal data stored in it. Or the messages may urge you to dial a phone number where your personal and financial information is solicited. Whatever you provide is either used to steal your identity or sold to third parties who'll send you yet more spam texts.

Why? For scammers, cell phone text messages are fast, cheap, easy and effective. The thieves use inexpensive, hard-to-track prepaid phones to transmit myriad text comeons. When word spreads of the spam du jour, the scammers simply toss the phones they're using and buy new ones. What's more, cell phone users are three times more likely than computer users to respond to spam. Because you always have your cell phone with you, answering it becomes more of an impulse reaction,

Here's How To Protect Yourself: Ignore instructions to text "STOP" or "NO" to prevent future texts. This is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a live, active contact for more cell phone spam. Never dial call-back numbers either. Forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). This will alert your cell phone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.

Antimal ware software is available for many phones. The trade-off may be reduced battery life, so check with your service provider or phone manufacturer for recommendations. Install upgrades to your security software. If you suspect an upgrade notification is phony, check with your cell phone or software provider. Never store credit card or account log-in information in emails or notes on your cell phone. When you get a text promising you a $1,000 gift card, ask yourself: Would anyone really give me that? Know, too, that banks and other legitimate businesses don't send customers unsolicited texts.

Here is A Handy Chart In Reporting Fraud. If you are in need of legal advice, please contact your local bar association at for legal advice or a lawyer referral. The Fraud Section conducts criminal prosecutions and cannot provide legal advice to citizens. If you would like to report fraud, please contact the appropriate investigative agency as follows: General fraud and other criminal matters: Please contact the FBI at (202) 324-3000, or online at Health Care Fraud and Medicare/Medicaid Fraud, and related matters:

Please contact the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or at Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft: Please contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or 1-877-ID-THEFT. respectively. Securities Fraud: Please contact the Securities and Exchange Commission at 1-800-SEC-0330 or Mail Fraud, Lottery/Sweepstakes Fraud: Please contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-800-372-8347

Internet Fraud and Lottery/Sweepstakes Fraud by Internet: Please contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at Disaster-related Fraud: Please contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at (877) NCDF GCF (623-3423), fax (225) 334-4707 or Correspondence may be sent to: National Center for Disaster Fraud Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909

State and local fraud matters: Please contact Donley County Sheriff's Office or Texas State Attorney General's Office.

Stay safe out there!

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