Is there any way to stop the scourge of text message spam?

Two years ago, I got a text message from a number with a Las Vegas area code. “Thanks for visiting our site!” it read. “Claim your $100 Gift card at Gift Code: 13Z76F. To end reply STOP.” Annoyed, I typed “STOP” and hit send. The next day I got another one. “STOP,” I typed again. Then came the deluge. “Clearance pricing on new cars!” my phone buzzed. “Start a career in law enforcement!” “You have 1 unread message from your secret crush!” At first they were all from Las Vegas. Then they were from Oregon, Idaho, and Nebraska. Every buzz meant another text message charge on my bill.I ignored some, replied “STOP” to others, and even tried calling back in the vain hope of confronting my tormentors. I reached only recordings. The worst part was that it was my own fault. As I belatedly realized, a reply of any kind confirms to cellphone spammers that they’ve reached a working number — which they can then sell to other spammers. I’ve long known not to click the links in spam emails, but 10 years of spam-free cellphone ownership had lulled me into complacency when it came to texts.

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