How to End Spam Calls and Texts Once and for All

Most of us have to deal with at least occasional spam calls and texts. Some of us get dozens of calls and texts every day. Is there any way for the average consumer to end spam calls and texts once and for all? And if the harassment is particularly egregious, how do you begin taking legal action?

How to End Spam Calls and Texts Once and for All

The Problem With Spam Calls and Texts

Most of us receive spam calls and texts, at least occasionally. Sometimes, it takes the form of a person spoofing a number that seems to come from your location, but when you pick up the phone, there's just silence on the other end. Sometimes, it's a seemingly random text message with content like “Hey! Long time no see. Dinner tonight?” Other times, the message is more specific or aggressive, with someone demanding payment for a debt that may or may not exist – or someone trying to lure you into providing your personal information.

The average person probably gets a few of these calls and messages every week. Some people experience a few of these calls and messages every day. In rare cases, people can be absolutely flooded with these messages, causing them genuine distress and disrupting their lives in many ways.

If the problem is particularly egregious, it may be in your best interest to talk to a consumer protection lawyer. Consumer protection laws are designed to protect us from infringements of our privacy and our right to live life as we see fit. Even if spam callers and texters have somewhat legitimate reasons for reaching you, such as trying to secure payment for an existing debt, there are strict legal limitations in place to prevent ongoing harassment.

If you're being consistently harassed, your consumer protection lawyer can work with you to identify the culprits, document the behavior, issue cease and desist warnings, and potentially even sue for damages.

How to End Spam Calls and Texts Once and for All

These are some of the best strategies for ending spam calls and texts once and for all.

· Never give out personal information unless necessary. Don't give anyone your personal information, including your phone number or name, unless absolutely necessary. This is important for two major reasons. First, giving out your personal information to any party means taking on the risk that that party will distribute your personal information further. For example, writing down your name and phone number to enter a raffle at a public event may seem innocuous, but that information may be distributed to other parties, eventually getting you listed on lists you don't want any part of. Second, spam calls and texts are often engineered to extract personal information for nefarious purposes. If you don't give these scammers what they want, they'll be more likely to lose interest – and more importantly, you'll keep your most sensitive information safe.

· Stop responding. Along similar lines, it's important to stop responding to any spam calls or texts. If you don't recognize the number, don't respond to it. In many cases, scammers will test numbers to see if they're still active; even the simple response of “wrong number, sorry” is enough to validate that the number is still in operation, which could contribute to inviting more spam calls and texts in the future. On top of that, if you commit to consistently not engaging, you reduce your chances of falling for a scam to zero.

· Block spam calls and texts. When you feel sure that a number is spamming or otherwise deceiving you, block it. Most phones make this option convenient, and it only takes a single tap to permanently prevent this number from reaching you in the future. If you look in the settings of your phone, you'll also find a block function for all numbers that are suspected to be spam; turn this on if it isn't on by default.

· Sign up for the do not call registry. The national “do not call” registry exists to protect consumers from unwanted spam. While the efficacy of this list is debatable, it is technically legally enforceable, so make sure to sign up for it if you aren't already listed.

· Flag as spam when possible. Most phones give you the option to flag messages as spam when you attempt to delete them, or as a separate action. Do this whenever possible. If enough people mark certain numbers as being associated with spam, they'll be blocked for others in the future.

· Call your service provider. If the problem is particularly bad, consider calling your service provider for advice and recommendations. They may be able to advise you on why the higher volume is unfolding or give you directions on how to limit your exposure to this spam.

· Consider using additional apps and tools. Many third-party apps and tools have been designed and developed to fight against the spam problem. While they vary in terms of cost, ease of use, and efficacy, they're worth investigating if you want a superior or more comprehensive solution in place.

· Take legal action in extreme cases. In extreme cases, when you're being harassed by the same people over and over, or when you're getting dozens of calls and texts a day, legal action may be your best option. Consider having a consultation with a consumer protection lawyer to review potential courses of action.

We've grown accustomed to spam calls and texts being a part of daily life. In isolation, they're merely annoying. But in high volume and high frequency, they become genuinely disruptive and damaging. That's why it's important to take this matter seriously – and do whatever is necessary to improve your quality of life.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

How to End Spam Calls and Texts Once and for All