A staggering 148.43 million spam texts are received by Brits every month, according to AdaptiveMobile, a mobile security company.
The YouGov online study of over 1,000 consumers who had received text message spam found that it was rated the most annoying form of spam (41%) ahead of email (36%) and physical junk mail (17%).
Meanwhile, the GSMA Spam Reporting Service provides a worldwide clearinghouse of messaging threats and misuse that have been reported by mobile users and is operated on behalf of the GSMA by Cloudmark, Inc.
“What starts as an annoyance can very quickly turn into fraud,” says Ciaran Bradley, VP Handset Security, AdaptiveMobile. “We’ve seen this happen in America over the last few years and with 60% of the British population having received unsolicited messages, this is becoming an important issue for the mobile ecosystem.”
Despite these problems, SMS is still one of the nation’s most trusted ways of communicating. The study says 17% of consumers who would trust a common digital channel ranked SMS as most trusted, second only to email (60%) on an index of trust around receiving messages from an unknown company or individual.
However, this trust can often be abused: almost a quarter of those who have received junk SMS messages (22%) have replied ‘opt out’ or ‘stop’ , which tells spammers that phones are active.
Unfortunately, almost half (48%) of consumers who have replied to text message spam get more spam, receive unwanted calls or may have money charged to their account, according to the study.
In the case of money being taken following an SMS spam scam, the research uncovered that such thefts could go unnoticed for months.
According to the research, 14% of respondents would not query discrepancies on their mobile bills with their operator until they reached over £5 per month, which could add up to £20.4m every month, across the population, landing in the pockets of thieves.
Total sample size for the YouGov Plc. survey was 2016 adults, of which 1229 had ever received a spam text message. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th – 31st October 2012.
The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). The survey results were released today, Nov. 22.
In response to these findings, AdaptiveMobile is launching its Facebook consumer spam reporting app. Its approach is an evolution from traditional spam reporting methods, removing the onus on consumers to remember shortcode numbers, and moving spam reporting into the social media age.
Available soon will be the SpamGuard app for Android smartphones, enabling subscribers to report unwanted messages to their network operator from their mobile device in just one click.
Operators will also be able to import AdaptiveMobile’s Facebook app to their existing Facebook presence, giving subscribers another easy way of reporting spam.
These tools will give operators accurate evidence of threats and the ability to take direct action against them, to help solve the global issue of SMS spam.