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Verizon Aims to Reduce Spam Texts with Free New Text Blocking Feature

by Julia Liebell-McLean on August 31, 2023

If you use a cellphone, you know how persistent and annoying spam text messages can be, and it’s getting worse. The FCC has noted a sharp increase in complaints about unwanted text messages: consumer complaints jumped from 5,700 in 2019 to 15,300 in 2021. Not only are spam texts a nuisance, they also pose a risk to your privacy and even lead to identity theft. To combat this growing problem, Verizon has introduced a free new tool to block spam.

Verizon’s new tool won’t block all spam texts; it eliminates email-to-text messages – texts originating from an email address instead of a phone number. According to Verizon, more than 80% of these email-to-text messages are spam. (Check out our story How to Stop Spam Text Messages for additional blocking options.)

Screenshot of sample email-to-text.

The spam text-blocking tool is exceptionally easy to use:

  • To start blocking messages, send “OFF” to 4040.
  • If you aren’t sure if the tool is enabled, text “STATUS” to 4040.
  • And to turn email-to-text messages back on, text “ON” to 4040.

Screenshot of checking the status of Verizon's spam text blocking tool.

While most email-to-text messages are spam, some businesses still use email-to-text to distribute information to customers. If you know a business that uses this method or have a friend who contacts your phone via email, you may want to keep the tool turned off. For all other users, we recommend enabling Verizon’s tool to enjoy a decrease in annoying spam text messages.

[Image credit: Screenshots via Techlicious, image of phone in hand via Smartmockups]

Julia Liebell-McLean is a freelance writer interested in all things tech, especially tech start-ups. An experienced writer, editor, and writing tutor, she enjoys knitting, reading, and cooking in her spare time.


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