How to stop scam texts

Harriet Meyer / 11 May 2015

Spam texts can be annoying but they could also leave you open to scams and rogue traders. Harriet Meyer shares her tips for stopping nuisance and spam texts.

Few of us have escaped the plague of spam texts, including those from companies trying to get us to sign up for services we don’t need or designed to rip us off.

These are usually easy to spot. They’ll typically tell you you’re entitled to compensation of some form, for mis-sold payment protection (PPI) or an accident you recently had. Or they might suggest you’ve got debt they can write-off. You won’t recognise the number the message has been sent from, and it may even come from abroad.  

The company behind the message usually won’t identify itself. It’ll typically offer a phone number to find out more.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an official opt-out for these messages, as they’re often sent to large groups of random numbers. Or they may be sent from pay-as-you-go mobiles registered abroad.

Yet it is possible to reduce the number received, so here are some tips...


Don’t reply

Whatever you do, don’t reply. The messages might say you can reply ‘STOP’ to put an end to their contact, but this only confirms you’re a real person.

They may be sent to a stack of randomly generated numbers, so by doing this you play into the rogue firms’ hands. If you reply you’ll risk your details being sold to other firms and increase the number of unwanted texts received.

Find out how to stop unwanted marketing texts. 


Avoid giving your number out

We are usually asked for our contact details when filling in a multitude of forms, but consider where these may end up.

Unless essential, don’t give your number out. This should reduce the number of unwanted texts and calls received.


Don’t list your number online

This includes the likes of Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else that might suggest you add your mobile phone number.

Dodgy firms have various ways to access your number, but often it’s a matter of guesswork on their part. Don’t make it easy for them.

Receiving nuisance calls? Read our guide to stopping them.


Complain about them

You can complain to your mobile operator and/or the Information Commissioner.

The more mobile users do this, the more spam messages can be stopped in the future.

By complaining to the ICO, the company will be investigated, and may be hit with a fine of up to £500,000. This threat is aimed at those sending millions of unlawful spam texts.

However, the ICO can only target companies sending texts within the UK or on behalf of UK-based companies, and many come from abroad.

Alternatively, you can forward the message to your network provider at 7726, ensuring this includes the senders’ number to report them.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.