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Reports: Spammers Flooded Cell Phones with a Staggering 4.5 Billion Texts in 2011

Retailers Prepare For Launch Of Motorola's New Droid Phone iphone texts
George Frey, Getty Images

There are few things more frustrating than learning that some spammer has wasted a few megabytes of your data plan with advertisements for male enhancement pills or cash for gold schemes.

Industry analysts reported that US cell phone owners received more than 4.5 billion spam texts in 2011. The total represents a staggering 45 percent increase from the previous year.

The truly frustrating part is just how easy it is for spammers to send the spam texts and how hard it is to stop them or even find the spammers. The most prevalent text spammers use prepaid phones with unlimited text plans to send their spam to numbers obtained from the Internet or special software that generates random phone numbers.

The spam texts often can’t be traced back to these prepaid phones, either. The spammers also give no regard to cell phone users without text plans that can cost up to 20 cents per message.

To make matters worse, only a fraction of people who received the offending texts actually report them to the proper authorities. The Federal Trade Commission only received 5,200 complaints about texting in 2010 and 2011. Cell phone and spamming technology have also outpaced the development of software or programs that can block spam texts on cell phones.

Industry officials have said that they expect mobile-security to become a high priority on cell phone company’s development schedules.

[The Consumerist]

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