We have all received them. You are waiting for a text from a friend and your screen lights up. However, it is not the SMS you have been waiting for. Instead, you are being ‘congratulated’ that you are now able to claim £3,659 for that accident you had years ago. The only thing stopping you from spending the money in your head is the small matter that you never had an accident.
It’s a classic ploy from firms looking to increase their mobile database and it appears that many people up and down the UK have been affected by it. A new report has found that nearly two thirds of British mobile phone users have received spam texts but the majority are unaware how to deal with them.
The survey of 1,164 UK adults aged 16 and over found that 64 per cent of texters in the UK have received an unsolicited SMS message, with respondents shown to have different responses to these texts.
Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of British mobile phone users would ignore a spam text, with just ten per cent actually taking the correct action by reporting spam to their network operator. Furthermore, 31 per cent of respondents would text STOP in an attempt to prevent further texts being sent. However, while this response may help to stop text alerts that the recipient has legitimately signed up to, it has the opposite effect on spam texts as it merely confirms that the number is active – prompting the spammer to send yet more texts.
The report, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Cloudmark, urges mobile phone owners to forward spam texts to their carrier to the shortcode ’7726′. The number spells out the word SPAM on a keypad, with Vodafone and Three customers encouraged to text their messages to 87726 and 37726 respectively.
Cloudmark’s chief technology officer Neil Cook, claimed that the survey highlights a “remarkable” lack of awareness in the UK about the threat of mobile spam.
He said: “It is a vicious circle that needs to be broken as the spammers that run these campaigns are making a living from duping UK mobile texters and selling data to fellow spammers.
“More often than not, the snippets of personal data a mobile texter offers in the hope to ‘win’ or ‘claim’ a prize is being used by very targeted third-parties to send even more spam. These findings must act as a rallying cry to raise awareness of the 7726 Spam Reporting Service and public participation is key to its success and effectiveness.”
Mobile phone networks in the UK collect all the spam reports they receive from their customers, with many carriers opting to subscribe to the GSMA’s Spam Reporting Service powered by Cloudmark. This service provides details of the numbers of those who send spam text messages, allowing networks to block them
“Since the Spam Reporting Service launched in the UK in February 2011, Cloudmark have seen at least a tenfold increase in spam reports to the service in the UK,” Mr Cook added.
“There is, however, clearly work to be done as the greater the volume of reports submitted to 7726, the greater impact it can have in preventing spammers from targeting UK consumers and attempting to extort money from them.”
Dynmark is the power behind global cloud mobile messaging and mobile marketing. We help organisations from SME through to global enterprise, to leverage the power of messaging as a business communication tool, for marketing or operational uses. Read more about Dynmark here.