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Another day, another round of spam texts and emails trying to sell you things. At best, spam is annoying. At worst, it’s pushing scams or trying to install malware on your device. If you’re tired of getting spam, there are some ways to help.

When scammers send spammy messages that seem legit (but aren’t), they’re often trying to trick you into clicking links and giving them personal or financial information. Things like your passwords or bank account and Social Security numbers are valuable to scammers. With that access to your accounts, scammers could try to steal your money or your identity. Or both.

To help you cut down on spam and avoid scams:

  • Use filters. Your mobile phone probably has options to filter and block texts from unknown senders. Some wireless providers and call blocking apps can also help block unwanted messages. Many popular email providers (like Gmail) have strong spam filters turned on by default. But if any spam gets into your inbox, mark it as spam or junk.
  • Protect your personal information. Before you enter personal information on a website, email, or text chain, stop. Ask yourself: Why do they need this information? And what’s going to happen to it? Remember, too: never share your Social Security number with someone who reaches out to you.   
  • Unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Getting fewer unwanted emails helps you avoid clicking on links that can lead to a phishing attack.
  • Report unwanted messages. Unwanted messages often lead to scams. Report them. Use your phone’s “report junk” option or forward unwanted texts to 7726 (SPAM) and unwanted emails to your email provider.

Learn more about how to get fewer spam texts and emails. If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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Spam texts and emails

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Lew
May 06, 2024

Nice article. Good information and makes people aware of the growing problem. Keep up the great work FTC!

Ann Mitchell
May 06, 2024

I don't even answer a phone call that I don't recognize. It's usually a telemarketer and I'm intelligent enough to find what I want or need.

Alyson
May 06, 2024

A large number of spam emails 900 in 5 minutes is a warning sign. Hidden somewhere in there can be a legitimate notice that a bank account was opened in your name. It happened to me. I wish I had known.

Joe Richardson
May 06, 2024

I advise against unsubscribing from spam emails. All that does is confirm that it is a good, active address. Just create a filter if it reaches your inbox, and ignore it.

Evelyn Seiler
May 07, 2024

In reply to by Joe Richardson

I agree with you, Joe. I attempted to do that before and instead of them removing me from their list, I received even more spam emails, this time from other sources too. Now I do what you do. I recommend it.

Marge
May 07, 2024

In reply to by Joe Richardson

You are absolutely right. Never "unsubscribe", never click on any links in a spam email, even if it says "unsubscribe here". Always report the offending email to the ISP.

Anita
May 06, 2024

Thank you so much! I needed this information today and yesterday. Knowledge is powerful. We as consumers can better understand and protect our personal information.

Joaquin de la Cova
May 07, 2024

Thank you for this valued information, we are constantly bombarded with these hits on our phone and email. Keep in touch.

Crystal
May 07, 2024

Great Article. I learned something new, as I get bombed with continuous political texts, even though I "report as spam and delete" on my iPhone. Thanks for providing a text number to report those unwanted text messages. I'm sure there are many people who don't know this information.

chris peeters
May 07, 2024

an increasingly dangerous online environment each year---
an unfortunate consequence of garbage email is that an "unsubscrible" linkmay also unleash malware scripts. I use script blockers even on sites I trust, and block 3rd party links/cookies wherever possible (until the trusted site session functionality breaks)

Elliott Greenblott
May 07, 2024

Unsubscribing may not be a good option all the time. Fine with legit sites but unsubscribe can confirm a “real” recipient to a scammer who can share your address and increase targeting for phishing.

Joseph Lapp
May 07, 2024

Got to ensure you don't mislead unsuspecting readers and make them think the phishing scams have actual methods of Unsubscribing within them......
"Unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Getting fewer unwanted emails helps you avoid clicking on links that can lead to a phishing attack."

All of the true scam spam phishing mail usually has a couple"Unsubscribe" links overlapping the various multiple bogus addresses they copy paste at the end.

bjm
May 08, 2024

I use 7726 all the time. BUT a lot of my spam texts arrive as MMS - requiring me to DOWNLOAD it to read. I will NOT d/L any MMS from unknown numbers. But am unable to forward any MMS texts to 7726, only texts that arrive written out. I immediately block any unknown # or person, however they arrive.
Cell is Samsung S23 Ultra, up to date on everything.
What do I do about this MMS issue?
Thank you

( BTW
I probably have the largest collection of blocked scam, spam or illegal debt collectors in the US.)

Stevon
May 07, 2024

Very, very valuable information!

Marisa Winters
May 07, 2024

Using phone’s report junk when getting spam texts does not work. I am beyond frustrated and angry with the amount of political texts I receive, a lot of them asking for money. They still come, from different numbers. It is unfairly time consuming on my part to daily, multiple times per day to delete these unwanted texts which use up valuable space on my phone. Something absolutely has to be done about this.

Judy Broomfield
May 07, 2024

I get an abundance of these All the time. I was was hacked and scammed 5 times last year. They got into everything. And basically got away with it. I just delete everything now or send it to spam. Thank you for caring. And for your help.

Jane D.
May 07, 2024

While I greatly appreciate the FTC's advice, I would highly recommend that this advice come to us another way, rather than to have us click on the FTC email and their link to read the advice, & does anyone else see the irony in the FTC's advice besides me? (i.e. the FTC is saying not to click on emails from people we don't know, & the links in the emails, in order to avoid malware, spam, etc., yet, they want us to click on random emails we receive from the FTC - we think - & their link - we think its their link anyway - to read their advice about malware & spam & getting our pc's hacked into.....?

It makes zero sense to me, as to why the FTC would encourage this .....?
What's wrong with this picture, right?

FTC Staff
May 08, 2024

In reply to by Jane D.

@Jane,
The FTC sends email to people who sign up and agree to get our advice. If you no longer want to get these emails, you can unsubscribe. To unsubscribe, click on the Unsubscribe link at the bottom of an FTC email, or go to www.ftc.gov/ConsumerAlerts.

Sheldon J.Levinson
May 07, 2024

I filed with your agency (FTC) along with the Police,My Bank, Credit Card Company (Master Card) My Cell Phone Carrier and Gift Card Companies)

Deborah Sumlin
May 08, 2024

Recently someone one has been sending me emails from People Magazine. Although I never subscribed, I am not able to unsubscribe. When I try to, I get a message “that my unsubscribe failed. But the only thing I can do is delete them. But they continue to come. I know that the messages have fake addresses. Awhile ago I tried to send all these fake emails to a spam address and even to a government agency—well, they came right back to me

DISGRUNTLED
May 07, 2024

WE HAVE TRIED FOR YEARS TO TELL YAHOO MAIL ABOUT THE SPAM / FRAUD BANK EMAILS ETC,,,. BUT NEVER GET THROUGH

Marge
May 07, 2024

In your article there is plenty of ways for the service SUBSCRIBER to avoid scams. Why aren't the service PROVIDERS doing anything? With today's level of technology, it ought to be pretty easy to notice a number or email address sending THOUSANDS of messages per day/hour. But, as usual, our protection is on US. Why?

James Green
May 08, 2024

I am 82 yrs. old and my phone has been ringing every 15 min. and my phone shows up Scam. For me running to the home phone every time it rings is terrible! I have the list of phone numbers they have been calling and some are the same! What can I do to stop this? I am too old for this kind of stuff. Can you help me please?

FTC Staff
May 08, 2024

In reply to by James Green

If you have a traditional landline you could use an answering machine to take the calls, install a call-blocking device, or install a call-labeling device. Ask your carrier about the call-blocking and call-labeling device.

Tami Simard
May 13, 2024

How does a supposed anti-virus get hacked this easily, and put us consumers at risk? I'm elderly, my computer a new Dell (purchased on Amazon), and I was told to pay over $500.00 for your service. I cannot afford this anymore, and do not know how you have access to my credit card. Please respond?

Paul Crerar
May 14, 2024

I am constantly receiving call from people from Yelp subcontractors? I think, they now know I am annoyed by this and these morons think its game. I find it very unprofessional, as I continue to say I am not interested In their services. What can be done?

WR Cline
May 20, 2024

Endless advice from so many sources on how to protect ourselves from internet crooks!
But I am still waiting to hear on the news of some of those crooks being tracked down and jailed by any branch of government, or if from foreign countries, sanctions if they don't start jailing their local crooks. Willie Sutton wouldn't bother robbing banks were he still alive--he would be mining the internet. Internet crooks do FAR more damage than any old-time bank robber ever did--I wish police agencies would go after the modern crooks like they did with antique crooks--and not put what seems to be the entire burden for protection on customers.

K Welsh
May 20, 2024

Sometimes email unsubscribe buttons don't work, or they don't include the instructions on how to unsubscribe. This goes against the CAN-SPAM laws. How do you report this?

Alisha rondas
June 24, 2024

I received a text message from a short code number saying they have $1000 credit card for me. I would just like to report this key is the day before this happened my own credit union denied me to refinance my car because I was behind two payments on one thing so I believe this to be a scam and I believe it be they want me to click on this link or do this, I actually responded to that question yes, Illike to have a loan, but I did not give them no information at all. I didn’t even respond to the original text, but then I didn’t. I said who is this? I don’t know who you are why would I give you? Why would I click on this link to finish? Fill out any information? I don’t believe this . I see no name no company name no nothing I have no clue who they are just one short code number not even whole phone number copy paste. It didn’t come out that way.

Denise
July 05, 2024

I would like to know how I can verify if an email is legitimate. I get very real looking emails from what is supposed to be the post office or paypal and even expirian and equifax. How does someone tell the difference without being suggested to use another app you don't know if you can rely on to find the legitimate messages?
Also why are companies allowed to use names other than who they are? This makes validating bank and card transactions trying when you now need to guess where each transaction is from when they are using an alternate name that is unfamiliar. And fraud charges get lost within the mix of valid charges when you now can't even identify the valid charges on your statement due to improper names and the like. For example how am I to know the label ev12dsq is a restaurant I ate at?

Denise
July 05, 2024

What does one do to not loose valid emails in and among the spam and junk mail folders? I've missed several important notices this way.

Margaret Brown
July 08, 2024

I have submitted the worst of the scams received, but continue to get them after reporting to FTC.

M.L. Brown
July 08, 2024

I learned more from the comments than the information provided. I do not answer unknown callers or emails; but, I do block them. And, yes, it seems to increase spam ten-fold.

Harry
July 22, 2024

This is very nice article. We have reached the point where we can't accept spam calls, spam emails, or spam text messages. They are nothing but online thieves and attackers. Their idea is to steal your information and later all your money.

Rebecca Kirk
July 25, 2024

Honestly, with the technology we have to day I don't understand why there isn't more of a dent in reducing this kind of stuff. Yes, hackers are always going to be figuring out the next work around but we don't seem to have made an impact as yet. Let's use AI against them.

PJ Triplett
July 25, 2024

I get emails from CenturyLink saying I need to click a link in email to update my email account. They do not come from CentruryLink. A long list of other email addresses are shown in the email. I have spoken to CenturyLink but the emails vanished after the real CenturyLink replied asking me to forward the emails to them. Just vanished!