4.5B Spam Texts Flooded Our Phones Last Year

Consumers fume, FTC files lawsuits
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2012 6:05 PM CDT
Cell Phone Spam Texts Top 4.5B per Year
Some text messages are more than welcome to most of us. Another 4.5 billion per year are not.   (Getty Images)

Getting spam on your cell phone? You're not alone: Spam text messages in the US soared 45% to 4.5 billion last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "I don't even get that much junk mail in my Gmail account," says a journalist in Washington, DC. "This is my phone. It seems more personal." But her effort to seek revenge on one spammer—by calling him back 20 times—was more personally satisfying than effective, because the texts are still flooding her phone.

The ire of wireless carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint has prompted some action, because angry calls to customer-service lines cost between $5 and $50 per spam complaint, according to one expert. The Federal Trade Commission reacted by filing suits against major spammers and settling one last year. But consider the temptation for spammers, who can find our phone numbers online or generate them randomly, and send out dozens of texts per minute, all day long—without having to worry about all-too-common email spam filters. (More spam stories.)

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