Annoyances come in all sorts of flavors. Those pants you ordered online don’t fit how you thought they would. Music these days isn’t as good as it was when you were a teenager. Your DoorDasher is running late with your dinner. Thankfully, we live in a golden age of brilliant solutions to the petty inconveniences of life. Generous return policies, streaming services with millions of songs, and GPS tracking help make all of our terrible first-world problems evaporate. We often talk in this space about the scourge of robocalls. It’s gotten to the point where we ignore calls that could save our lives because it might be those blasted scammers again. Robocalls aren’t the only form of deception infiltrating your smartphone. Certainly most of us have been attacked by robotexts too.
In this article, we cover:
- The golden age of brilliant solutions to petty inconveniences.
- Marketers know people are more engaged with texts, and so do scammers.
- How to block unwanted phone numbers on Apple or Android devices.
Even though we often conflate our obsessive texting habits to those of a teenage girl, the truth is text messaging is a major part of how humans of all ages communicate in 2021. Look no further than marketing statistics to see how effective those chat bubbles really are. Ninety-five percent of texts are read and responded to within three minutes of delivery. More than half of users prefer a text message over a phone call from a business. Ninety-eight percent of text messages are opened, while a mere 20 percent of emails see the light of day. In other words, people are far more likely to engage with a text message than other forms of communication. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received more than 12,000 complaints about unwanted calls and texts in December 2020 alone. With such a willingness to receive marketing offers via text, it’s no wonder scammers would use it to their advantage for nefarious reasons.
Thankfully, robotexts are a little more easier to circumvent than robocalls.
When we’re put on the spot with what seems like a live, active caller on the other end, it’s easier to panic and agree to things we wouldn’t otherwise if we just had time to think. However, the appeal of texting may also be its saving grace: the medium affords us time to ingest the message and devise an appropriate response. As long as we don’t allow ourselves get swept up in manufactured urgency, they should be navigable. In fact, the first and easiest rule of avoiding deception from a robotext is to realize that anything urgent wouldn’t likely be sent via text. No government agency is going to text you about a sudden urgent payment come due.
If you get a message like that, it’s a scam. Period.
The scams you encounter in texts are far more likely to resemble the spam in your junk email folder. You’ve won a boatload of money and they need your personal information so you can claim it. First of all, you shouldn’t even text your own mother your Social Security and bank account numbers, let alone some stranger claiming to be from a legit business. The best course of action for any phishing attempt is to flat out ignore it.
Don’t text “STOP!”
That’s right, don’t even bother texting “STOP” to opt out when you don’t recognize the source. A robotexting campaign can be successful simply by eliciting any response. Now they know your number is active and available to pray on by more sophisticated means later. Don’t answer and in fact block the number, whether on iPhone or Android device.
Also similar to email spam, do not click on any links from an unknown texter. You may not think of your phone as vulnerable to viruses, but just think about how much of your personal information lives on your phone. Malware can be loaded onto your phone. Do not fall victim on your digital wallet.
YouMail Blocking to the Rescue
While robotexts seem a little less scary than full-blown robocall attacks, do not underestimate them. A robotext could be the insidious precursor to more harmful activity coming your way. With 3.9 billion (with a B) robocalls placed in December 2020 alone — that averages out to about 12 robocalls per person — you don’t want the fire robotext smoke precludes. Get yourself a free, highly effective robocall-blocking app such as YouMail before the scammers get their tentacles on you, whether through robotexting or robocalls.
Now where is that Dasher with your dinner?!