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Posted: 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012

Stop spam texts on your cell phone



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ClarkHoward.com and The Clark Howard Show offer more money-saving advice for consumers.

By Clark Howard


Ever receive what looks like just another annoying spam text? Don't just ignore or delete it. It could be a scam lurking in your cell phone bill.

As more Americans disconnect their landlines, criminals have migrated to where the opportunity is, and the "cram" has made its way from regular landlines to the cell phone industry.

"Cramming" is the practice where crooks set up third-party marketing groups that post bogus charges to your monthly bill.  Cram charges are often disguised with innocuous terms like "special services," "Internet advertising," "service fee," "calling plan" or "minimum monthly usage fee." 

Often, you will receive a spam text as an initial tip off. If you don't respond to the text to stop the charges, you will start getting billed for a bogus charge. However, sometimes the cram charges just show up on their own.

All the major wireless carriers except AT&T provide a way to block spam texting. The New York Times  offers a compilation of the procedures. They can be a hassle, so be forewarned. Meanwhile, AT&T charges you $5 each month to block texting from spamsters!

If you have Android, there are a lot of free and pay spam blockers such as Anti-SMS Spam, Call Blocker, Handcent SMS, smsBlocker and SMS Filter available in the Google Play marketpace. Some work better than others, so be sure to read the posted reviews.