SMS spam and how you can avoid it

Spam is bothersome. However, many spam messages are sent with malicious intent: Phishing, viruses and more are spread via spam. You may know this mostly from your email inbox. But spam also occurs via SMS. We have compiled the most important information here. How can you avoid becoming a spammer yourself?

Is SMS spam a problem at all?

In many countries spam via SMS is prevented by strict rules. In the United States, for example, sending an SMS without the recipient’s opt-in costs a fine between 500 and 1500 dollars – per message, that is. This can be expensive, especially for mass SMS messages, which are often used for spam. In other countries, network operators automatically filter spam messages. However, there are always black sheep who try to bypass these rules. Most of the time they find some gaps – or simply ignore the rules. Even though SMS have a legitimate reputation for being more respectable than e. g. e-mail, they are also increasingly used for phishing and spam.

Why you as a company shouldn’t send Spam SMS

Spam can have a negative effect. Not only for you and your company, but also for the SMS as a medium.

  • Spam wastes money

    In some countries, spam SMS are blocked automatically by the network operators. The recipients usually delete spam unread. As a result, the money you invest in sending the message is lost. Instead, invest in serious campaigns – both you and your customers get more out of them.

  • Spam costs image

    If your company is repeatedly noticed for spam, it damages your reputation. Once that happens, such a loss of image is very hard to make up for. But what’s worse, it also damages the reputation of the SMS itself. This makes future SMS campaigns more difficult for yourself and for others.

  • Spam can have legal consequences

    We mentioned earlier that in the USA sending SMS without customer opt-in is subject to a fine of up to 1500 dollars. You can also be prosecuted for spam in other countries. And if you have obtained the recipient’s contact details illegally, this can also have serious consequences.

Current efforts to prevent SMS spam

On December 12, 2019 Google introduced a new feature for Android Messages. This is called Google Verified SMS and is the equivalent to the sender verification function in RCS. Verification works by a company including a code in the SMS. This code is checked in the background by Google. If this match is successful, the sender is verified. The company icon and the name are displayed with the shield icon as sender. Otherwise, a warning will be displayed that it may be a fake SMS. This feature is currently available in the United States, India, Mexico, France, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Spain, Canada, and the Philippines, but more countries will follow soon.

A second feature, also integrated by Google into messages, is real-time monitoring to prevent spam SMS. If an SMS comes from a sender who is not in your contact list, a warning is displayed. This feature also includes a feedback function, you can tell Google if you really think the SMS is spam or not. Here privacy concerns need to be addressed. Google itself says that no SMS are read for this function. Also the numbers of the senders are stored only temporarily. Both functions can be deactivated in the settings.

How do I avoid sending spam messages?

Essentially, it’s quite simple. Before you send a message, consider whether it will benefit your customer. Is it just a empty text to draw the customer’s attention to your company? Then you should rework the content. Especially if you send SMS for marketing purposes, the frequency is also important. One or two SMS messages per month that offer added value (e.g. via discount codes or current information) should be well received by the customer. If, on the other hand, you send a message every day, it quickly becomes annoying – spam.

SMS Spam is one of the bad habits to avoid when sending SMS. In our article on this subject we have compiled some tips on how to avoid spam. Another advice: Pay attention to where you get your contacts from. For some companies it might be tempting to buy a set of contact details of potential customers and contact them. Caution is advised here. Consumers who have not consented to the use of their information can take legal action. So buy contacts – if at all – only from reputable sources.

Summary

If you want to avoid having your sent SMS messages filtered as spam, you should look at the country-specific rules for sending sms. For some countries there are special rules, which you should observe. Otherwise: If you don’t want to receive the SMS you send yourself, it makes sense to change it. SMS Spam can have serious consequences for the sender. These range from loss of reputation and waste of money to legal consequences.

With the introduction of features like Verified SMS you can – if it is available – avoid your SMS being considered spam.

Best Regards
Your sms77 team
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