Mobile Spam: How To Take Appropriate Action

Cloudmark, a provider of messaging threat protection for mobile, fixed and social networks, today released a national survey on mobile users’ interaction with and awareness of text message spam in the UK. The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive among 1,164 UK adults aged 16+, found that 64% of UK mobile text message users aged 16 and older have received spam texts in the past year, but most are still unsure of how to take appropriate action.

The survey found 63% of British texters would ignore an unsolicited text message, as few as 10% would actually take the correct action by reporting spam to their carrier, and more worryingly 31% would text “STOP.” This response only works with text alerts that the recipient has legitimately signed up to, and has the reverse effect for spam texts – merely confirming that the number is live and encouraging the spammer to continue to target that phone.

Mobile users are strongly encouraged to forward spam texts to their carrier via “7726” spelling out “SPAM” on the keypad (or 87726 for Vodafone customers and 37726 for customers of Three UK). UK carriers collate spam reports from their customers.

Cloudmark Chief Technology Officer Neil Cook said: “This survey has revealed a remarkable lack of awareness in the UK about the threat of mobile spam. 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.

Neil continued: “Since the Spam Reporting Service launched in the UK in February 2011, we have seen at least a tenfold increase in spam reports to the service in the UK. 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.”

Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.