Calpernia Addams

TTFN: Blocking Cellphone/Text Spam and Mailing List Spam

Reminder: Tech Tips for Nerds are my little solutions to technical problems I encounter in my daily life. If I have to Google something several times and figure out the answer, I like to post what I found here on my blog to make it easier for the next person!

Blocking Text Spam, SMS Spam and Cellphone Spam

Ok, so today I got an email from AT&T saying that I was opted IN to a program that allowed them to share my usage data with “advertising partners”, and if I wanted to opt OUT and NOT have my data shared with slobbering greedy advertisers, I had to either go to their site or call them. My cellphone is the last place I want spam or ads, so I let them know that I wanted out. FUCK THAT. If you’re on AT&T you can do so here:

Coincidentally (?) I received a spam text to my phone shortly thereafter from some skeevy check-into-cash scam place. IF they got my number from AT&T (bastards) then my only solution is to do the opt out that I’d just competed. But IF they were just going down the numerical line with AT&T numbers and texting to the email address that goes straight to that number’s text, there IS a way to stop text spam for ATT phones:

From http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/12/how-to-block-cellphone-spam/ I learned:

AT&T says:

“Our customers can get onto our Web site,” he wrote, “and set their handset so that it receives no messages from the Internet, the origin of the vast majority of wireless spam.”

“Text messages sent from the Internet are addressed as follows: [Your 10-digit wireless number]@txt.att.net.

“What spammers try to do, of course, is attempt to guess your number, largely by trial and error. This brings me to the second capability we offer our customers. Let’s say you want to block spam, but still want to receive messages originating from the Net that you would actually find useful (airline schedules, hotel reservations, etc.). For this purpose, we let you replace your wireless number with an alias. It could be some quirky name, or whatever you like. [You share this address only with people you know.] This could disrupt the guessing game spammers play to try to discern your number and sent you their junk.

“Though not perfect, our efforts have helped keep spam in the category of minor, though annoying, phenomenon. Thanks for listening.”

You can also block spam in various ways with Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile:

* AT&T: Log in at mymessages.wireless.att.com. Under Preferences, you’ll see the text-blocking and alias options. Here’s also where you can block messages from specific e-mail addresses or Web sites.

* Verizon Wireless: Log in at vtext.com. Under Text Messaging, click Preferences. Click Text Blocking. You’re offered choices to block text messages from e-mail or from the Web. Here again, you can block specific addresses or Web sites. (Here’s where you set up your aliases, too.)

* Sprint: No auto-blocking is available at all, but you can block specific phone numbers and addresses. To get started, log in at www.sprint.com. On the top navigation bar, click My Online Tools. Under Communication Tools, click Text Messaging. On the Compose a Text Message page, under Text Messaging Options, click Settings & Preferences. In the text box, you can enter a phone number, email address or domain (such as Comcast.net) that you want to block.

* T-Mobile: T-Mobile doesn’t yet offer a “block text messages from the Internet” option. You can block all messages sent by e-mail, though, or permit only messages sent to your phone’s e-mail address or alias, or create filters that block text messages containing certain phrases. It’s all waiting when you log into www.t-mobile.com and click Communication Tools.

Removing Yourself from ALL Mailing Lists and Marketing Lists at Once in Gmail, Yahoo and AOL Mail

I used the new startup service Unroll.me, which you let connect with your email and it the searches through for everything with an “unsubscribe me” type link. It then lists them, and if they have an easy unsubscribe option you can just click a “minus sign” and it will unsub you. If they are one of those bastards that require you to log in to unsubscribe, it will link you to the log in/unsub page on the company’s site. You can also opt to combine selected subscriptions/newsletters into a single digest email and choose when you receive that.

Opting Out of AT&T’s Sharing of Your Customer Proprietary Network Information or CPNI with Advertisers

From AT&T’s email: If at any time you would prefer that AT&T not use your CPNI to offer you additional products and services, you may: