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.)
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.
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]