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Consumer Rights.

Updated: 5 Mar 2021

How to deal with spam text messages

Unwanted text messages can be extremely annoying and in many cases a scam. Follow our instructions to put a stop to spam text messages.
Which?Editorial team
How to deal with spam text messages

1 Is it spam, or a scam?

It can be to tell the difference between contact from a legitimate company or an attempted scam.

Scammers are increasingly taking advantage of smartphones and are getting very clever with how they try to take your hard-earned money.

They can even make it look like a legitimate organisation is contacting you via text or a messaging app by using identity masking technology to change the name displayed as the sender. This is known as ‘number spoofing’.

If you get sent am unexpected message, it’s important you're sure it's legitimate. Read more about how to spot a scam message in our free guide.

Fraudsters can use many different types of of messaging systems and apps, like SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Skype, Google Hangouts, Snapchat and many any other platforms to try scam you out of your money.

2 Report a nuisance text

Report a nuisance call

Report a nuisance call or text to the regulators. Every complaint helps in the fight against nuisance calls and texts

Report a call or text

You can complain about a company or a number making nuisance calls and texts to a number of organisations including the TPS, your phone operator, Ofcom (which covers silent and abandoned calls) or the ICO. 

The threshold at which the ICO is allowed to act has been lowered and they have the power to fine companies up to £500,000 that break the rules on unsolicited texts and phone calls. 

Which? will continue to work with all the relevant bodies to ensure that efforts to tackle the problem are stepped up.

Sending unsolicited text messages is illegal. So, if you want to stop receiving spam texts you can report this to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). 

You can also report unsolicited text messages to your mobile provider.

3 Use a dedicated text number

You can report spam texts directly to your mobile phone provider. All operators now use 7726 as the short code to report spam texts, which is free of charge. 

All of the UK’s mobile operators worked together to deploy a tool which collates all the information from the 7726 short code in real time. 

This means they can take early action to block numbers that are generating spam on their networks. They can also use this information to inform the regulators.

You can report spam texts directly to your mobile phone provider free of charge by forwarding the text message to 7726. 


Do you report spam?

In 2015 a whopping 90% of Which? survey respondents who owned a mobile phone didn’t know they could report a spam text using 7726.

When you report a spam text you may get an automated response thanking you for the report giving you further instructions if needed.

4 Texts from unknown numbers

Never respond to spam texts as this will just confirm that your number is live. Simply delete the text.

Only reply ‘STOP’ if you know the company that's sending the message. If the company continues to send you unwanted texts you can report it to the ICO.