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Pull the Plug On Mobile Spam

Tue Jun 17, 2008 - 8:09 AM EDT - By Mike Guccione

With gas prices and everything else seemingly shooting through the roof, it's times like these that make even the best of budgeters cringe. If you're like me, my budgeting skills are next to none, so every penny counts - which is why mobile spamming is so irritating. To those with an unlimited messaging plan, this may be a mere annoyance, but to those with limited - or no - messaging plans, unsolicited text messages can be more than a nuisance - they can be quite expensive. And since it doesn't matter if you wanted it or not - that spam message could have cost you upwards of $0.20. Not a big deal for one message, but they add up quickly - imagine if we were charged for each spam message in our email inbox. Is this what we have to look forward to?

Luckily, it seems that many of the wireless providers are well aware of this and have taken steps to help consumers avoid large, unsolicited messaging bills. David Pogue with the New York Times outlines how several networks attempt to stem cell phone spam:

  • AT&T: Log in at mymessages.wireless.att.com. Under Preferences, you’ll see the text-blocking and alias options. Here’s also where you can block messages from specific e-mail addresses or Web sites.
  • Verizon Wireless: Log in at vtext.com. Under Text Messaging, click Preferences. Click Text Blocking. You’re offered choices to block text messages from e-mail or from the Web. Here again, you can block specific addresses or Web sites. (Here’s where you set up your aliases, too.)
  • Sprint: No auto-blocking is available at all, but you can block specific phone numbers and addresses. To get started, log in at www.sprint.com. On the top navigation bar, click My Online Tools. Under Communication Tools, click Text Messaging. On the Compose a Text Message page, under Text Messaging Options, click Settings & Preferences. In the text box, you can enter a phone number, email address or domain (such as Comcast.net) that you want to block.
  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile doesn’t yet offer a “block text messages from the Internet” option. You can block all messages sent by e-mail, though, or permit only messages sent to your phone’s e-mail address or alias, or create filters that block text messages containing certain phrases. It’s all waiting when you log into www.t-mobile.com and click Communication Tools.

Though not a perfect process, it's definitely a start. What's your take? Have you had a problem with spam in your text message inbox?

[source NYTimes.com via The Official Palm Blog]

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