Dirty text messages show up on cell phones - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Dirty text messages show up on cell phones

This spam message and many more like it are showing up on cell phones all over. This spam message and many more like it are showing up on cell phones all over.

(NBC News Channel) - If you own a cell phone, then you're probably familiar with the growing interest in text messaging.  But did you know it could also connect your kids to adult websites?  Spam texts are now targeting cell phone users young and old.

The messages seem innocent enough. One read, "Looking for someone to chat with, check out my profile."

It then listed a web site.   That Internet address is an adult site offering to connect a visitor with women wanting sex.

This spam message and many more like it are showing up on cell phones all over.

Depending on a customer's cell phone provider, it can cost up to 20 cents to simply receive the message.

"It’s always an advertisement for something," cell phone user Brian Denning said. "It's like they want to sell by being irritating."

Spammers can get your private line by buying phone number databases over the Internet.

Others target certain phone prefixes and then mass message any number combination possible.

"One of the worst things you can do is respond to a spam," Brenda Hill, Verizon Wireless, said. "That validates your phone number."

Verizon is not alone; every major carrier has reported problems.

Ferris Research, a company that tracks messaging services, says 1.1 billion spam messages went out in 2007.

That number is up 38 percent from the year before.

"Spam going to cell phones and pagers and other wireless devices is, in fact, a growing concern," Louis Mastria, Direct Marketing Association, said.

Spam text messages are illegal thanks to the CAN-SPAM act, which took affect in 2005.

Some might think phone companies are making money on spam, since texting costs consumers, but many companies are taking spammers to court.

"We've been actively suing spammers since 2004," Hill said. "We have 50 lawsuits active right now."

If you get a spam message, tell your service provider.

They may be able to block the message or refund your bill.

Otherwise, the only way to avoid this annoyance may be by canceling your texting plan.

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