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Stop Unwanted Solicitation

Posted on the 20 September 2011 by Nerdywerds @NerdyWerds
Spam is more than a delicious meat science project

Despite what my grandparents might tell you, spam is a very bad thing. Of course, we are talking about two different kinds of spam. There's is a canned meat product that seemingly never goes bad; mine's the annoying emails and text message you receive promoting Viagra or something like that. For the remainder of this article, we'll be speaking of the annoying spam; sorry grandpa. I'd like to give a special thanks to Dana for requesting this topic; I hope this helps!

Everybody is familiar with spam; mass messages sent through electronic messaging promoting something you don't care about. There was a time when spam was limited to your email inbox. But, as with good technology, spammers evolve with the times. As text messaging became more prevalent, so did text message spam. Now, unfortunately, it's hard to escape a spammers reach. To make matters even more unfortunate, text messages can be sent to your phone from the internet. As if spam weren't bad enough, telemarketers still exist and still call whenever I'm eating dinner.

There was a time when you either had to call your phone company and put a block on a number, or you'd have to deal with salespeople calling you whenever they felt like it. I'd love to tell you I have a solution; that I can completely stop these calls from coming in. But the truth of the matter is that I don't have a 100% effective system for stopping this annoyance. The sad truth is that no matter what we do, the spammers and solicitors will have a counter measure prepared. Stopping spam is like playing chess, no matter how good a move you make, your opponent will make another move. But, there is hope; Bobby Fisher never seemed to be phased by his opponents move, and you don't have to be either.

We'll first start with the part no one really wants to hear, and that's the preventive measures. If you've ever been on the nightlife circuit, you know not to give your phone number out to just anybody. This is good advice for navigating the digital jungle. It would appear that everybody and their brother asks for a phone number when you use a site. If you're ever given the option, do not give them your digits. Some sites make this part optional, and you should opt out. These companies can make money by selling telemarketers lists with your information. More reputable sites will have a disclaimer about not selling your information. I still say no one gets my number that doesn't need it, but if you're the trusting type, those sites should be acceptable to give your number to. Another good tip is not to visit shady sites or click on "to good to be true" ads. If you've ever received an email from a Nigerian prince claiming to have $50 million waiting for you, you know what I'm talking about. But unlike the email scams, a lot of too good to be true ads and sites don't wish to rob you of money. Most just want your information to sell off. SO my best advice on heading spam off at the pass is to just browse intelligently.

Now if the only defenses we had in this war were preventive, we'd be in pretty bad shape. Luckily, that isn't the case. Your first stop should be The National Do Not Call Registry. As you might expect, the do not call registry is a list of people that do not wish to receive telemarketing calls on their phones. I registered my number in 2008 and have actually not gotten a telemarketer's since. This is a government run directory and once you've registered, your phone will remain their as long as you own it. If you do get a call from telemarketers and you are on the list, you can file a complaint at the do not call website.

It's rarely this convenient, but if you get calls from the same number you can attempt to block that individual number. Unfortunately, the methods for blocking numbers vary greatly from carrier to carrier and device to device. I'd recommend calling your carriers customer support line and asking them if they have a procedure in place. You should also search your phone's app market for a call blocker. iPhone developers aren't given the liberties other app makers are; so there isn't really much in the way of blocker apps for iPhone's. These apps will allow you to blacklist numbers, and some even have built in blacklists. And if you are really lucky, you're market will have a blocker app with the auto hang up feature. This will allow your phone to actually answer the call and hang up on the telemarketer. Personally, seeing your phone hang up on a telemarketer the first time was a rush.

Text message spam is a bit harder to deal with. Spammers don't sit in a dark room sending messages one by one. They are on their computer with a program chugging through thousands of texts a minute. Most people don't know this, but besides your normal phone number, you also have an email address associated with your phone. It's typically "[your number]@txt.something.something. This is how spammers send you texts from a computer. The good news is that your cell provider doesn't give this information out freely; so the spammers are left to guess your address. So tip one, never reply to spam texts. If you reply, the spammers are given confirmation that the number is legit; and they tend to continue sending you messages. Most providers will allow you to replace your number with an alias in your online address. Since spammers are trained to guess numbers and not letter, you should be a good deal safer this way. Plus, you can still receive internet messages from reputable source(airlines and such). Most carriers have some level of text-spam filtering for your online address, you can check out the source links or call your provider to know exactly what your options are. As with phone call blockers, their are text message blockers. Again, iPhone users are left in the lurch a bit. But you should definitely search your app market for text blocking apps; they do exist and they are helpful.

As a bit of a catch-all clause, there are a couple of other things you can try to eliminate or reduce spam. First, consult your devices manual to see if the phone has any built in blocking or blacklisting features. Many phones do, it's just a matter of finding them. If you pay per message, or haven't opted for texting at all, you can completely block all texts to your device. I don't recommend this if you still wish to use your texting capabilities, but if you're paying fees because of solicitation, it may be only resort.

Well, that's it folks. I really wish I could give you a 100% reliable way to stop all unwanted communication, but I can't. Luckily the tips I've given you have worked for me to the tune of only getting about 5 spam texts in the last year and no telemarketer calls. If you have any tips that work for you please shoot me a line and I'll add the, to this article. Thanks for reading and hopefully you see results like I do.

Source: At&T Support
Source: Sprint Support
Source: T-Mobile Support

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