Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Charging for Spam

I'm not a huge texter, but I definitely text messaging to communicate with friends, especially when we have to meet up or coordinate something while I'm not near my laptop. It's really useful. It's really easy.

Since I don't use it much, I only have a basic texting plan. It's something like 250 texts a month. That's plenty more than I need most months.

Except for the fact that I don't actually have 250 left by the time you count all of the spam text messages I receive.

I had this problem a while back, a few months ago, before I got my new phone (no number change though). Then, I considered the things that other people said to do on forums I found from Google. If I tried to reply with "STOP", that would tell them that there was definitely a person on this end of the line. It might get worse! I called AT&T and they said they could block certain numbers but I would have to pay a fee. A fee! For messages that I don't even want! In the end, I didn't do anything. I only got on average a message a day, so overall, I lost about 30 messages a month. That wasn't too bad, I still had 220 left. And then, for whatever reason, without any action on my part, it stopped (or at least slowed to about 1 a month).

Now, the spam text messages are back with a vengeance! For the last couple of weeks, I've been getting an average of 4-5 a day! AT&T's website says that they have automatic spam filtering, but apparently that's not working very well. I get legitimate texts from websites sometimes, so blocking all email texts was not an option. Well, that's why I didn't do it the first time.

I sat through it for a few weeks, assuming it would go away again. All that happened was that I began getting even more. Even if there were a Do Not Text registry, it wouldn't work. Know why? Because the email addresses for all of my gibberish- or link-filled spams come from EUROPE: horriblespammer@blah.de*, disgustingspammer@rambler.ru, etc.

6 a day? I couldn't stand it. So it was with a sigh that I sat myself down to find out just how to block those email messages again. And this time, I found a miracle!

Hallelujah for finally seeing the light, AT&T! Well, I still blame you for not being helpful beyond: "Maybe you should try purchasing an unlimited texting plan -" No, I don't want to get a unlimited texting plan because I am not doing that much texting! I'm not paying for spam texts!

Anyways, that's over now, because I found this post:
Finally! A way to block spam text messages on my AT&T cell phone.

You can now "block messages sent from specific email accounts or domains"! Yes! I think there's only a few places I'm getting these texts from (mainly that Russian email site), so as I get the texts, I'm going to keep adding them to the list of domains until this ridiculousness stops and I can feel free to use my own texts again without fear of going over my limit.

One more thing, by the way, that wasn't mentioned in that article but that the AT&T site said after I blocked the first domain, is that you can do this straight from your phone. You just have to reply to the (email-->text) message with the word "block" for it to be added to your blocked list. Well, I haven't tried that yet, but maybe I will if I get any more of these.

*Names changed not for posterity or because I don't want you to know who they are (I wouldn't mind that at all!) but because I delete all of them as I get them, so I couldn't quite remember the German address.

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