Mobile Spam Texts Hit 4.5 Billion Raising Consumer Ire
Posted in: Spam at 01/05/2012 14:01
Gillian Brockell got so fed up with unsolicited text messages from a single spammer on her mobile phone that in a fit of frustration she called the sender back -- 20 times.
Turning the tables on the spammer in early April felt "satisfying," she said. Still, it hasn't stanched the flood.
Spammers can get phone numbers from the Internet, or use software or websites to randomly generate thousands or even millions of numbers in a particular area code. Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg
"I don't even get that much junk mail in my Gmail account," said Brockell, a 31-year-old journalist who lives in Washington, D.C. "This is my phone. It seems more personal."
The unwelcome messages that have been clogging e-mail inboxes for two decades have made the jump to handsets, as more people use smartphones in place of personal computers and texting becomes more popular. The number of U.S. spam text messages rose 45 percent last year to 4.5 billion messages, said Richi Jennings, an industry analyst. Spam phone calls also are proliferating. The surge is costing carriers money and frustrating users, who must pay for the messages and deal with potentially fraudulent texts.
Spammers can get phone numbers from the Internet, or use software or websites to randomly generate thousands or even millions of numbers in a particular area code. Often using prepaid phones that can't be traced back to the sender, they can then use auto-dialing technology to reach recipients.
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