If you own a mobile phone, you have likely received unsolicited (or “SPAM”) text messages, which usually arrive in the form of an advertisement for a product or service unknown to you. Aside from the general annoyance these messages represent, they are particularly troubling because many recipients may unknowingly be charged a fee for every message they receive.
Despite the millions of unauthorized messages received by consumers each year, it is actually unlawful to send such messages without first obtaining consumer consent. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) prohibits individuals and businesses from sending unsolicited text messages and entitles the individuals who receive them without authorization to recover between $500 and $1,500 in damages for each message.
There are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself from text message spam, including:
1. If available to you, follow the instructions found in the message you received to discontinue the service (usually by replying STOP or something similar).
2. Do not provide the solicitor with any personal information.
3. Check you cell phone contract and bill for any charges or services that you did not authorize.
4. Keep a detailed log of the messages, including: the sending number, date, time, and the content of the message.
5. Report the message to Scambook, your wireless carrier, your state’s attorney general, the Better Business Bureau, and/or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.