Tech Tips

How to Block Spam Group Texts on an iPhone

The rise of apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, and Slack, and iMessage made it easier for us to join different groups, message our friends, and keep in touch with relatives whom we haven’t seen in a while. However, being in a group with multiple people has one major downside: there are more opportunities to receive spam messages and calls. 

Generally speaking, having an online presence puts you at risk of receiving phishing emails, spam calls, and even text messages. If you want to learn how to block spam text messages on an iPhone and how to protect your personal data, here we cover everything you need to know to minimize the risk of cyberattacks or falling for a scam. 

What Are Spam Group Texts?

Similar to email phishing and scam calls, the purpose of group text scams is to get you to click a link or respond to the text message, and then have access to your personal data and credit card details. Even though it might seem highly unlikely that you would do that, scammers actually resort to different techniques in order to craft a legit text message. For example, they might send you a text message which offers you a chance to win an exclusive gift. Or they inform you that you have won a luxurious holiday or your Amazon account has a suspicious purchase.  

That said, there are legitimate automated text messages from companies that notify you about discounts in their shops or new products. However, if you text them back “STOP”, they need to stop contacting you. Even so, this course of action is not recommended when you’re interacting with a scam text message since any interaction, especially clicking the link, can infect your smartphone with malware and put your personal data at risk.  

Moreover, the spammers can continue to change their phone numbers in order to look again like a reliable source and also to protect their real location. For some people, a spam text message might not be as annoying as a fake phone call. But they are far from harmless and it’s not advisable to just ignore spam messages you’re receiving.  

In case you are receiving spam messages in iMessage, then you can leave the group. Unfortunately, this is only possible if every participant in the group also has an iPhone. The next course of action is to block their phone number. Although, as previously mentioned, spammers regularly change their phone numbers, and may receive text messages from different spam phone numbers.  

Lastly, make sure to delete any suspicious text messages because you don’t want to accidentally engage with them in any way. Another option for your iPhone is to turn on a filter to sort messages from unknown phone numbers in a separate list. It can be a very useful way to minimize unwanted and suspicious text messages.  

Erase Your Digital Footprint 

But if you’re serious about protecting your personal data and limiting interactions with spam calls or text messages, then you will want to delete your digital footprint. It is easier said than done since our online activity consists of all the data we have granted access to on different websites, applications, and eCommerce shops, or comments on certain blogs, social media posts, videos, subscriptions, and anything else that you might have shared online.  

If you want to remove your information from the internet, it is important to bear in mind that doing it yourself, in most cases, will be a complicated and somewhat tedious task and may pay off to hire a professional. 

There are services like Incogni that were created to leverage GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy laws to remove your sensitive data from data brokers’ databases automatically. They will look up which data brokers might have your personal information, contact each broker, and complete their opt-out process regularly to make sure your data is kept off their hands in the future. So even though they don’t offer direct protection against cyber-attacks, you are much less likely to be a victim of spam calls, spam messages, shadow profiles, and/or hackers.  

With that said, this is not enough to delete your digital footprint. You should be conscious of your actions on different websites and applications. Furthermore, you need to do your research and only give access to information that you are comfortable sharing, or at least choose a safe and reputable online platform.  

For example, you can turn off your location and YouTube history and browse in private mode. Next, regularly update your desktop and mobile devices and, if possible, and use premium anti-virus protection. When it comes to spam emails or text messages, the main point is not to interact with the text message itself. 

Lastly, it is crucial to note that there are numerous scammers that have gotten better at crafting convincing text messages. For example, you might receive a phone notification informing you that you need to pay your utility bill or that you have received a gift because you have paid your electricity bill early. Whatever the case might be, if you are unsure about the message’s legitimacy, it’s better to communicate with the customer support agents from your provider instead of engaging with the text message in any way. In addition, you can contact your carrier to block certain phone numbers from contacting you. 

To conclude

As our lives become increasingly digital and we spend more time online, making sure that our data remains safe from third-party access is of paramount importance. Text scammers will probably only get better with time and preventing potential cyber-attacks or identity theft is crucial in this day and age. No one wants to be in a situation where they regularly receive spam text messages or spam phone calls, which is why you should take the precautionary measures listed above. 

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