Sometimes it must feel as though the scams are aimed surely and squarely at Only You. But you are in good company. And Amit Patel, who runs Belvedere News Food & Wine in Belvedere, Kent, is involved in a scheme to save his customers as well as himself.
He is the street coordinator for his local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. He says: “I’m responsible for communicating messages from the Met Police to elderly residents who shop in our store, and encourage them to be vigilant at all times.”
He has forwarded an email from the Neighbourhood Watch Association (NWA) regarding spam texts and asks if I will pass it on to readers. As Aussie wait-staff say: “No worries”. We all have mobiles these days and I suspect each and every one of us gets these spam texts.
The circular from NWA observes: “Spam texts are a modern scourge plaguing our mobile phones with unwanted adverts, often from dodgy companies. It is possible to fight back by reporting them to minimise the number you get.
“Spam texts are usually messaging randomly generated numbers, advertising services such as PPI claims handlers, injury claims, write-off companies and so on. They usually come from an 11-digit mobile number, and the company isn’t usually identified. It is trying to entice you to reply.”
It points out that these texts want any response to confirm that you are not an unused mobile number. Some even trick you by saying you can text ‘Stop’ to be removed from the mailing list. Whatever you do, don’t text ‘Stop’.
There isn’t an official opt-out system for spam messages as there is for unwanted phone calls, post or faxes. But, you can minimise the number you get. Option one is to report it to your network provider. The big networks have a free method to help you to do this. Just forward the message to 7726 (spells out SPAM), making sure it includes the senders’ name. Vodafone customers need to add an 8 to the beginning of this i.e. 87726.
Or there is option two, which is to report it to the Information Commissioner at www.ico.gov.uk which can fine companies up to £500,000 for the most serious breaches of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which govern spam texts.
If you get a spam text you should record exactly what the text says, the number it was sent from, then complain to the ICO via tel: 0303 123 1113, fill out a ICO letter and email or post it.
Incidentally there are three different types of text message: legitimate, premium messages and spam texts all with different getting-rid-of methods. The complaints process described above is for Spam texts only. To view ways to get shot of legitimate and premium messages check out www.moneysaving expert.com/phones/stop-spam-texts.