Dear Terrified Texter,
The easiest way to block text messages is to block them entirely, which you can do by calling your cellphone provider's customer support number. It'll actually save you a lot of money and probably improve your use of the English language. Here are some popular US cellphone provider contact numbers should you want to take this more extreme approach:
- AT&T: 1-800-331-0500
- Verizon: 1-800-922-0204 (and other numbers)
- Sprint: 1-888-211-4727
- T-Mobile: 1-877-453-1304 or chat online
But let's say you actually like texting with other people and would prefer to just ditch these weirdos who keep sending you bizarre messages. In that case, there are some other things you can try. Let's break this up between smartphone options and any phone options.
If you can/want to/do use Google Voice as your main phone number, you can block calls/texts and report them as spam. Google Voice gives you so many great options and so much control over how you use your phone that you don't get with your cellphone provider that it can really be worth the switch. You can even send messages from Chrome with the wonderful new Google Chrome browser extension. Then you can just cancel your cellphone text messaging plan and use Google Voice instead.
But Google Voice isn't for everyone, so what else can you do? Well, not much if you're not on an Android phone. There are a couple of exceptions, though. Jailbroken iPhone users can grab iBlackList), and Symbian and Windows Mobile users can grab Norton Smartphone Security. If you are running Android, you've got a couple of options:
There are quite a few more, but those should be enough to get you started.
Any Phone Options
If you don't have a smartphone, sometimes you can call your carrier and have them blacklist specific phone numbers. If you keep getting texts from new numbers, ignore them. When you reply to spam text messages they know they're reaching you and will keep trying. Your best defense other than blocking is to never reply.
Most spam text messages come from the internet, too. Whether you're aware of it or not, you're assigned an email address that will send SMS messages to your phone (like firstname.lastname@example.org). Generally spammers will just guess your number by trial and error (which is why replying can be so bad, because then they know you exist). Many carriers will offer you the option of creating an alias and use that instead of your phone number (so it could be email@example.com instead, for example). That can often do away with most of the spam you'll run into, unless you you start posting that email address all over the web. David Pogue, over at the New York Times, elaborates on this process and provides specific carrier information to help you out.
Those are your options! Also, if you ever start getting calls you don't want, here's how to block those as well. Hope that helps!
You can contact Adam Dachis, the author of this post, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.