One in three UK mobile phone users would naively text ‘stop’ on receiving a spam text message, almost certainly guaranteeing that they receive more unwanted contact, a survey has found.
Message security vendor Cloudmark’s questioning of 1,164 UK adult subscribers confirmed that the problem of spam texts is now large enough to have been noticed by 64 percent of respondents.
Although two thirds said they ignored such messages, and one in ten reported the messages to their carriers via dedicated spam codes, the remaining third compounded the phenomenon by replying in the mistaken belief that this would cause contact to cease.
Such behaviour confirms to spammers that the mobile phone number is valid, at which point it is added to databases of targets which are then often sold on.
“This survey has revealed a remarkable lack of awareness in the UK about the threat of mobile spam,” said Cloudmark’s CTO, Neil Cook. “
“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.”
Cloudmark had seen a tenfold increase in reports of mobile spam since starting its Spam Reporting Service (used by the GSMA) in the UK in early 2011, he said.
Mobile operators needed to publicise their reporting services more effectively, for instance Vodafone’s 7726 – ‘SPAM’ – data which would be collected by the GSMA from each operator.
In 2011, the GSMA proposed creating a global system for reporting text spam through short codes.