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Cell Phone Spam Stop Receiving Unwanted Text Messages!
The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer Alerts are not legal advice, legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.
CELL PHONE SPAM
More than one billion text messages are sent everyday in the United States and studies show that more and more of those messages are spam, or unwanted, unsolicited junk mail, delivered to the consumer's wireless phone text message inbox. Not only is text message spam annoying, but it can also slow down your phone by taking up your phone's memory and, unlike spam e-mail, lead to unwanted charges on your wireless service bill. Many carriers will charge you simply for receiving a text message, regardless of whether you requested it. Additionally, if you use a smart phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) that functions like a personal computer, spam could put you at risk for viruses or "smishing," a scam where consumers are directed via text message to a website that unknowingly collects their personal information or downloads software that allows the cell phone to be controlled by hackers. The government has recognized that text message spam is bothersome and has enacted legislation specifically addressing the problem. This alert provides information about the law and helpful tips to protect yourself from receiving unwanted spam on your cellular phone.
THE CAN-SPAM ACT
In 2003, Congress passed the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act, which makes it illegal to send unsolicited commercial e-mail messages to wireless devices, including cell phones and pagers, without first receiving the consumer's permission. The CAN-SPAM Act works together with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which created the National Do Not Call Registry. The Registry contains a list of phone numbers that telemarketers are prohibited from calling unless they have an established business relationship with the consumer or are otherwise exempt, such as tax-exempt non-profit organizations. For more information on the CAN-SPAM Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act, visit the Federal Communications Commission's consumer alert at
http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/canspam.pdf. Additional information regarding the National Do Not Call List is available the Federal Communications Commission's consumer alert at www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/tcpa.html.
HOW TO STOP CELL PHONE SPAM
There are a number of simple steps you can take to prevent spam from controlling your cell phone.
If you have a general consumer complaint, or if you become aware of a text message advertising-related scam operating in your area, please report this to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:
Consumer Protection Division
Toll free: 877-765-8388
www.michigan.gov/ag (online complaint form)
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