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Cell phone txt msg spam


Darren S
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Ironically, I was just discussing this with my boss and lo and behold I received one today. It was a text message to my cell phone though looks like it was sent from an email account. Any ideas how to combat these or gather more information about them? Can the cell phone carrier find the "Header" of the text message even though I can not?

My text message has a "From" address of Staton[at]micastillo.com with a txt of, "(IDGI) wondering if ya wanted some 1 to chat with online Samantha.weveonlyforg. com" (I left the space between the "." and the "com" as that is how it appears and might help someone else if they search here).

"micastillo.com" points to 8.15.231.74 which is an account from CWIE, LLC in Tempe, AZ with a "good" status while "weveonlyforg.com" points to 68.39.205.177 which is a Comcast account in NJ and noted as "poor" (i.e. lots of RBL listings). I'm sure if I make my "Reply To" email as "bgates[at]microsoft.com" then

that this is how it will appear in a text message but I haven't tested this but I am assuming the email address I received is not valid but spoofed.

I understand Verizon Wireless (my carrier) has a place to sign up in order to not receive any text messages from an email source but sometimes I will actually email my phone or others will so I don't want to eliminate that option until necessary.

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I understand Verizon Wireless (my carrier) has a place to sign up in order to not receive any text messages from an email source but sometimes I will actually email my phone or others will so I don't want to eliminate that option until necessary.

A suggestion. I have verizon also. You can pick an "alias" email address (alias at vtext.com) apart from the default numeric email gateway address (your cell number at vtext.com)

Then you can specify in preferences that only email sent to the alias is allowed, which effectively should shut off spam via email while leaving you with a way to use email. Email you send from your cell will show the alias as the "From" address. Obviously you should pick an alias not likely to be dictionary attacked. My first go-round I choose poorly and almost immediately got spam. A non-dictionary word as alias fixed that right away.

Unfortunately this does nothing for spam that originates as SMS, but if you continue to get spam from email sources it's something to consider.

I'm also frustrated that there is no obvious way to see the message headers. :angry:

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  • 2 weeks later...
An excellent suggestion, silentlarry, and I will have to employ that at some point.

So is there no way to combat SMS-based spam?

So far, I've been unsuccessful in getting anywhere with reporting SMS-based spam messages. My wireless company (AT&T) appears to have nothing in place to help.

I think the From numbers are probably nonsensical numbers and just made up for the message or they are from unregistered wireless numbers. The actual text of the messages contain possible targets to complain about. When I was with Verizon, I never received any unsolicited SMS messages, but within the first week of switching to AT&T (before I had ever sent an SMS message, I received four unsolicited SMS messages. I don't know if this means that Verizon has blocking software in place for unsolicited SMS messages or if I was just lucky to get listed somewhere when I switched to AT&T (or some other reason I haven't thought of yet).

Anyway...

From: "1 (010) 100-001" and "1 (011) 100-002", I got messages that talked about "lists AT quickfind DOT com" and trying to get me to confirm my subscription request to some list called cingulardb_jmhmedia_GAF which I never requested. You would think that AT&T would know more information about it since they bought Cingular Wireless and thus it would probably be a list that they should know about.

From: "362-45", I got messages from Herman AT pookiebears.com asking me to chat with them at Jeannine.yeahthecharmingfu.com and a second message from Gagnon AT ragerlaw.com saying they saw my profile and thought I was cute and asking me to chat with them at Lynnette.ijustcantclosemy.com

When I've called AT&T they appear to have no suggestions except to tell me to reply with "STOP" or some other form of telling them to not send anymore SMS messages. I tried to respond once, but my "STOP" was only returned back as "NO SUCH USER". I decided from that one experience that it's probably not useful to reply to any of these unsolicited SMS-based messages.

So far, I've only gotten about six messages, but if it continues, I plan on sending a letter to the FCC and the FTC to at least alert them to the problem (as if they don't already know). I doubt that anything will be done with just one letter from me (I'm not that important), but if they get enough, maybe they'll make an attempt.

I've been out of telephony for a while, but it appears that SMS-based messages are a lot like email in that they don't appear to check to see if the sender exists and they seem to accept messages from anyone. I'm guessing that SMS-based messages will become a new frontier for spammers to do their thing. I think it will become just as hard for service providers to filter SMS-based messages as it is for ISP's to filter spam (sorry Hormel).

That's just my 2 cents.

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...So far, I've been unsuccessful in getting anywhere with reporting SMS-based spam messages. My wireless company (AT&T) appears to have nothing in place to help. ...
Just adding that of course SMS spam contravenes the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and prosecutions have been made (for example see Verizon Wireless wins injunction against text spammers - not to mention the fine). None of which addresses the problem of identifying the sender but telcos ought to at least pretend to some sympathy and be ready to strike like summer lightning in the rare cases that a sender is apparent.
...I'm guessing that SMS-based messages will become a new frontier for spammers to do their thing. I think it will become just as hard for service providers to filter SMS-based messages as it is for ISP's to filter spam ...
Yes, maybe/probably this is the emerging battlefront after a few diversions. Example diversion including the ill-fated 'recipient pays' business plan some 4-5 years ago which first drew sharp focus on unsolicited messaging and surely (going back to the previous point), in the wash-up of that, must have lead to some facility to identify and record the 'telephonic' source? Dunno, seems to me that telcos go out of their way to make charging/fee structures as mysterious as national regulations will permit so it's not clear to me what they might know.

And even in China - 200 million cellphone users hit by SMS spam tidalwave. Heck, China is believed to have some 555 million cellphone subscribers - just as well cellphones can't be 'borged yet. Oops, too late, they can - refer How Cell-phone Viruses Work, part 3

{sigh} The one constant, the most predictable behavior in all of human affairs, is greed/cupidity. So it's sort of looking inevitable.

Other discussions on the topic:

http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=8610

http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=8068

and there must be others.

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