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To end reply STOP.” Annoyed, I typed “STOP” and hit send. “Six months ago, when I would tell people I work for an anti-spam company and work on mobile spam, they’d all wonder, ‘What’s mobile spam? The past three years, however, have brought a proliferation of cheap, prepaid cellphone plans with unlimited text messaging. In 2009, Americans received some 2.2 billion text messages that they identified as spam, by the estimate of Richi Jennings, an independent market analyst. But even that figure doesn’t capture the biggest boom, which has come in just the past few months, according to Cloudmark, a San Francisco-based firm that provides messaging security for major wireless carriers.That won’t guarantee you immunity, since legitimate sites can be hacked for customers’ personal information, but it’s your best bet. They go like this: 1) Report spam to your carrier by forwarding the offending message to 7726 (that's SPAM on alphanumeric keypads), then copy the phone number it came from and send that along as well. 3) Tell your wireless carrier to block messages from the Internet.4) Have your carrier block messages from the specific phone numbers that are spamming you.Reporting spam does help the carriers and government agencies identify patterns of spam messages over time.But don’t imagine that your tip is going to spur anyone to hunt down the scoundrel that spammed you and bring him to justice.

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To really put a dent in text spam, the mobile phone companies need to upgrade their spam filters. A cynic might note that the wireless providers have little incentive to expend that effort, since it costs them essentially nothing to transmit the data, and they actually profit from spam messages received by people who don’t have unlimited texting plans.

By the time you’ve received a text and reported the number, there's a good chance it has been used hundreds of times and discarded.

Blocking messages from the Internet is also unlikely to cut down on the volume of spam you receive.

“Now, I’d say most people have been exposed to it themselves.” If you haven’t, you will be soon.

’ ” says Mike Reading, Cloudmark’s director of technology for the Americas.

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