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There were ways around the charges, like sending the spam messages from the Internet rather than a mobile phone. Text spam used to be rare in the United States because, compared with the email equivalent, sending texts was expensive.The cost of fielding complaints from exasperated customers outweighs any revenue the wireless companies get from spam messages, Cloudmark’s Reading reckons.(To ensure that’s the case, follow up your spam reports by calling up your wireless provider and asking to have the relevant text-message charge removed from your bill.) Reading tells me his company’s latest spam filter has the capacity to identify and block most of the current wave of mobile scams before they reach customers.
For a grim picture of the future, one has only to look to China, where unlimited text plans have been widely available much longer. wireless carriers didn’t look to China several years ago and start preparing for the deluge.
But unlimited texting plans made that approach less attractive to spammers, who know that such messages can easily be blocked.
Though it’s still worth doing, don’t expect a magic bullet.
Blocking messages from the Internet is also unlikely to cut down on the volume of spam you receive.
Sending texts from the Web used to be a popular method for mobile spammers, who could try endless random combinations of numbers in hopes of a few hits.
Two years ago, I got a text message from a number with a Las Vegas area code. Spammers’ lists of numbers have been multiplying as they shift their focus from email to mobile phones to take advantage of cellphone companies’ weaker spam filters.