For mobile phone users, Spam is defined as receiving any unwanted or unsolicited text messages. Two federal laws have been enacted that prohibit the sending of spam. The first legislation was the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) signed in 1991 and revised in October 2013 to include cell phone text messages. The second law, enacted in 2003, was created to directly ban unwanted commercial messages, also referred to as spam, from targeting cell phones and was named the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM). Both Acts make the sending of spam text messages illegal and subject to financial penalties.
Even with the federal laws in place and when cell phone users take measures to prevent the receipt of unwanted text messages, such as registering their cell phone numbers with the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do-Not-Call list, some spam texts continue to arrive. In addition to being a nuisance, spam text messages can be costly to cell phone owners if they have limited text messaging plans. There are two simple and convenient options available for reporting cell phone spam; theses could be with the:
- Federal Government
- Cell phone service provider
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) complaint process, http://www.fcc.gov/complaints, offers menu-style options for a full array of wireless telephone situations. Unless someone is interested in reading all of the various scenarios that can be reported; the form needed to report cell phone spam is the FCC Form 1088G, titled Call or Message to Wireless device (Cell Phone or Pager) Complaint. The form is located at http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/1088G-R.pdf and can be filed online or faxed to 1-866-418-0232.
Individuals can register a complaint with the FCC by calling the Customer Center at 1-888-225-5322 for voice communications or 1-888-835-5322 for those with hearing problems. A complaint can also be registered in writing and mailed to: Federal Communications Commission, Consumer, and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division, 445 12th Street SW, Washington DC 20554.
Cell Phone Mobile Providers
Most major cell phone providers have created systems that enable their customers to report spam messages by forward texting the spam to 7726. This allows the mobile provider to effectively block any future messages from a specific sender. This process needs to be handled separately for each spam sender, but it provides the mobile provider with documentation from a sufficient number of customers that can be used to bar the sender from future spam texting.