April 9, 2012- Spam has now made its way to the cell phone. The last bastion of communications technology not invaded by spam has now succumbed to its power. Text message spam promising credit cards, cheap mortgages, drugs through the mail and gift cards have started to invade the cell phone industry.
Consumers in the U.S. received approximately 4.5 billion texts with spam last year. That was over double what they received for spam texts in 2009. Those 4.5 billion messages are spread over nearly 250 million phones that are enabled for receiving text messages. Therefore, the problem is much less then it is with emails. However, the menace is growing and contains the threat of causing substantial damage.
Consumer watchdog the Federal Trade Commission say that text messaging that is unsolicited has become a pervasive problem. The agency has turned to the law to help with the problem. The FTC says it is difficult to find those who are sending spam and therefore ask consumers to file complaints that can help them track down the culprits.
Much of the spam received is annoying yet harmless marketing, but there is a growing amount that is insidious. Some spam will sign a user up for a service that is bogus yet almost impossible to be cancelled. Other methods used by spammers is to promise a gift card or free phone if the user answers a survey and then gives personal information, including a social security number.
If that is accomplished, then spammers sell that information to other parties and that could be used to track transactions an even used to get into their bank accounts. Up to now, it has been difficult to control, much less stop.