Figures from mobile security company AdaptiveMobile suggest that 148.43 million spam texts are received by British consumers every month, with 14.2 million people being bothered by SMS spam at least once a week. The study, which was carried out last month by YouGov, found that consumers rated unwanted text messages as the most annoying form of spam (41%) ahead of email (36%) and direct mail through the letterbox (17%).
It also notes that 48% of consumers who replied to text message spam in a bid to stop the messages instead received more spam or unwanted calls and in some cases had charges added to their mobile account.
Ciaran Bradley, Vice President of Handset Security at AdaptiveMobile, said “What starts as an annoyance can very quickly turn into fraud. 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. If we act now, there is no reason why we cannot get rid of this headache entirely and preserve a channel which is very much trusted by the nation. Operators, content aggregators, security providers and regulators need to work together to expose the spammers and share data on the culprits to ensure the problem can be solved once and for all.”
The Information Commissioner’s Office currently has the power to charge SMS spam offenders a penalty of up to £500,000 if they break the law.
Mobile networks each offer different methods for reporting spam SMS messages. AdaptiveMobile has recently launched a Facebook SMS Spam Reporter service that’s available to network operators and will soon introduce a SpamGuard app for Android smartphones.