How to Block SMS (Text Message) Spam

by Michael on June 3, 2012 · 0 comments

Over the past few months, I’ve received a bunch of SMS (text message) spam. As it turns out, the vast majority of SMS spam is sent as email-to-text messages. This makes it easy for spammers to blast their junk messages out to the masses.


Depending on your carrier, e-mail sent to addresses like:

yournumber@txt.att.net [AT&T]
yournumber@tmomail.net [T-Mobile]
yournumber@vtext.com [Verizon]
yournumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com [Sprint]

Will be delivered to your phone as a text message. This makes it all too easy for spammers to do their “job” — and annoy the crap out of you at the same time. Bummer, huh?

While carriers try to filter as much of this stuff out as possible, some of it inevitably gets through. And when it does, it not only disrupts your day, but can also cost you money in the form of messaging charges.

Note: If you want to help improve your carrier’s spam filtering, follow the linked instructions to report SMS spam.

Since I have unlimited text messages on my iPhone, I’m not worried about the cost. But I hate having my day interrupted by useless spam texts.

Block SMS spam

So how can you block spam text messages?

Simple. Go to your carrier’s website and shut off email-to-text messaging. Details vary by carrier, but…

For AT&T (my carrier), go to mymessages.wireless.att.com where you’ll be asked to create an account (this is separate from your main login). Once you’re in, go to the “Blocking Options” tab.

Next, check the boxes next to “Email delivery control” and then pull down the “Mobile number control” menu to select “Block“. If you prefer, you can block based on specific domain names using the “Block and Allow Lists“, though that’s usually an exercise in futility.

Once you’ve set everything up, click the “Submit” button. Note that the above steps will not block messages from services like Google Calendar or 4Info. Thus, if you use those services, your reminders and other updates will still get through.

If you still want to receive text messages via e-mail while blocking the spam, go to the “Message Options” tab and create an alias. The blocking functions above apply to the “yournumber” address, and not your alias, which can be any alphanumeric combination (and thus won’t be subject to number-bombing).

In the few weeks since I started blocking email-to-text messages, my text message (SMS) spam problem has essentially dried up. Hopefully you’ll have similar success.


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