AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have finally agreed to end text message spam

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It’s the middle of the night. Your smartphone notifies you of a new text message. Half awake, you check your phone thinking it might be an emergency, only to find out you’ve just won an iPad. Not Cool.

It’s the end of an era. In a new anti-spam initiative, 3 of the top 4 major US carriers — AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile — have agreed to finally put an end to text message spam once and for all. Backed by attorney generals in 45 states with US, Attorney General of Vermont leading the charge, AG William Sorrell said in a statement:

“We are pleased that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have decided to stop the flow of money from the pockets of ordinary people to the bank accounts of scam artists. We’re hopeful the other carriers will soon follow their lead.”

AT&T and T-Mobile were the first to actually confirm the termination of costly “premium SMS” services, with Sprint more than likely still drafting up the press release. Completely absent from the list (why are we not surprised?) is Verizon Wireless, whom, we’re sure after all the good press rival carriers have been receiving, will eventually follow suit.

Looking back, we can’t think of a single honest “premium” text message we’ve ever received. While we don’t have official data, we’d say somewhere around 99.9% of SMS messages asking people to sign up for premium content is nothing more than phishing or malware scams. It’s taken awhile, but we’re glad at the prospect of finally ridding the world of SMS spam once and for all.

[Office of the Vermont Attorney General | via The Verge]

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  • aranea100

    A snow flake fell into hell and melted away…

  • NinoBr0wn

    What exactly is a premium text message?

    • Josh

      You will get a text like joke of the day. You will get some stupid joke by text and every day the spam company charges you $2.99 on your cell bill for that wonderful joke/text.

      • NinoBr0wn

        That definitely sounds like a joke.

        • JRomeo

          yea, and you should see the way they advertise their service…… I assume they come in all shapes and flavors… like one for receiving pickup lines everyday, Ding $2 per day, or your horoscope everyday, zing another $2…. its crazy.

  • Lennatron

    I guess I should feel lucky to never received a spam text.

    • mycuzinvinny

      If you are feeling left out, please post your number here and someone will accommodate you, I’m sure. :-)

  • Josh

    1 less thing to worry about. Its about time.

  • TheRealBBOX

    “why are we not surprised?”

    Because you would never miss a chance to pander to your audience by not taking a cheap shot at Verizon.

    That being said, it IS surprising they’re not a part of this, there’s no downside to joining the other carriers and while I don’t know the exact figures, I would assume this would be a large call driver to their customer service, so terminating the premium SMS billing would likely realize a significant chunk of cost savings for the company by reducing call volume and credits for the charges. It’ll be interesting to see what they end up doing.

    • mcl630

      Hard to call it a cheap shot when Verizon takes every opportunity to slap it’s customers in the face. They had a chance to do something good for their customers and didn’t.

  • Nathan Koal

    Of course Verizon isn’t apart of this. Anything that enables them to make more money is exactly what Verizon will do. No matter how dumb it is

    • Troy

      According to other sites, Verizon had already decided to end this service

  • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

    Wow. And they were only 1 week late (for me).

    After years and years of cell phone use I’ve never been scammed, until last week, when I kept getting spammed over and over by some douches from txtgrabber.com. Finally I got a cryptic message that said “bla bla send STOP to unsubscribe”, so I did, and it cost me $10.

    T-Mobile wouldn’t refund it, but they said they blocked that particular scammer for me (and why not everyone?). Also, FWIW, I asked T-Mobile for a “Purchase Block” on SMS’, and the (indian) guy said sure, but all he did was completely block ALL TXTing, so I had to call have that “feature” removed from my line (and it was – instantly). Can’t wait until SMS dies in a fire altogether, but it’s still the only universal method while everybody fights over Hangouts, WhatsApp, AppleSomething, BBMwhatever, etc…

    • mgamerz

      Google Voice bro. Google. Voice.

      • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

        Unlimited TXTing bro. Un. Limited. (I use GVoice too, though, but the spam was going to my main line)

  • HeatFan4110

    What about the stuff regarding “we buy cars?” I am tired of that. The government doesn’t want to do anything about those people because their don’t call/don’t text list is ineffective with those buggers that spam me with buy cars. Luckily, my new number is not in effected yet.

    • Max

      I think that may be unique to miami. o the misspelled spanglish

      • HeatFan4110

        Probably the Hialeah junkies sending messages to people through a damn machine.

  • Montisaquadeis

    Sure the subs of Srpint will follow suite with this

  • Fel Pe

    About damn time!!

  • Robabobbob

    Does this mean these network will no longer support the use of premium rates to make charitable donations? I actually in favour of that as there are plenty of way to send money and I’ve always hated the lake of transparency around sms costs and the fact you can almost never reverse payments when something goes wrong.

    • JRomeo

      figure out who the treasurer is of your charitable organization, and send that person a donation through square cash http://square.com/cash

      • Robabobbob

        Charities aren’t short of ways to accept funding and I’m not asking questions about that. I was just wondering if this means they will no longer support it. Anyone out there know?

  • KiwiBri

    Oh no.. Does this mean this farkers will now move on to Canada??

  • guitarist5122

    Never had spam text. Plus my phone goes on silent when I sleep. If it’s important, someone will call the home phone.

    • h4rr4r

      Not all of us are senior citizens. I am over 30 and have never had a landline phone in my name. Why waste the money? The last time we had a major power outage, October Surprise in WNY power out for 4 days at my house, only cell phones worked.

      • Stone Cold

        I’m not a senior citizen and I keep a landline in case of emergency. I have cordless plus a basic push button in case of a power outage.

        • Caleb Loop

          And thats the bottom line, cause stone cold said so.

        • h4rr4r

          When that day comes you will likely find the cell phone the only thing that works.

          Also you do not need service on a POTS line to make 911 calls. They provide tone for 911 and operator in the USA on all lines.

          • Lonetree

            Not true. After I disconnected my landline at my apartment there was no longer any tone nor operable dialing. Every other apartment I’ve lived in has not had an operable jack either. Though landlines are still irrelevant.

          • h4rr4r

            What state do you live in?
            In NY state they are required by law to be able to make 911 calls.

          • Lonetree

            Must be a state law. This was in Wisconsin, but it’s been mostly deregulated for a bit. I’ve never tried in DC, don’t have a landline handset to test with anymore.

        • dar thlaan

          If your home phone doesn’t work during a power outage, you don’t have a good ‘emergency’ phone. The only phones that will be affected by a power outage are cordless models without a battery backup. Haven’t you ever watched an old horror movie? The bad guy had to cut the power…AND the phone line. And of course, it was just as the victim had started their conversation with the police.

      • guitarist5122

        lol, I’m 27 and it’s only a few bucks a month. it’s convenient cuz my house seems to be a faraday cage and only seems to be able to hold calls if I’m upstairs (and even then signal isn’t amazing). been like that with tmobile and verizon

    • No_Nickname90

      I like the “Do Not Disturb” feature on the One. You can set it to where only those who are worthy can ring your device. =.P

      Though I see that Facebook Messages can cause my device to ring. =.[

  • Name

    What’s a Home Phone?

    • dandybuck

      Ha.. exactly

    • dar thlaan

      That’s a phone that you know will always be in your house, in case you’re out and you want to talk to someone you know is there, but you don’t know their number. Or a phone you can call your kids on when they’re not old enough or responsible enough for a cell phone. It also comes as part of the deal with DSL internet, and is a cheap add-on for cable internet service.
      Or, if there’s an intruder, it’s something handy to throw at them instead of your cell phone. With the older models, you can strangle them with the cord.
      Don’t knock it.

      • Robb Nunya

        I have a gun for that. Much more effective than a chunk of plastic.

  • Just Me

    “AT&T and T-Mobile were the first to actually confirm the termination of costly “premium SMS” services, with Sprint more than likely still drafting up the press release. Completely absent from the list (why are we not surprised?) is verizonwireless.com, whom, we’re sure after all the good press rival carriers have been receiving, will eventually follow suit.”

    Verizon is not on this list since the end user can block premium messaging already. Yes, it requires the end user to take some minimal effort to do this but it can be done.

  • Phaz0n

    Does Verizon work with anybody?! Jeepers.

  • ichuck7

    Good for those 3,especially T-Mobile. (I’d like to think they were the leaders). Shame on you, big red.

  • curtst

    Phone goes silent for texts and emails when I sleep. If it isn’t important enough to call, then it isn’t important.

  • John Andrew Stuart

    I had my AT&T account hacked when I accidentally opened a SPAM text. Whoever this person was purchased four iPhone 5 with a fraudulent credit card.

  • Alu Zeros

    nice that it finally happened

  • http://www.advancedtele.com ballparkbob

    Verizon had already decided to eliminate premium SMS. http://www.atsmobile.com/mobile-marketing-news/2013/11/22/premium-sms-terminated/