Getting toxic texts? Here's what to do

Text messaging

Photo by Allie Garza

Text messaging

— Under FCC rules, texts and commercial email messages may be sent to your mobile phone if you previously agreed to receive them.

Consent must be in writing — such as an email or letter — for a business to send commercial text message ads. However, only oral consent is required for non-commercial, informational texts, including those sent on behalf of tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations; for political purposes; or other non-commercial purposes, such as for school closings.

After you opt-in or give your authorization, all commercial texts must allow you to "opt out" of receiving future messages the same way you opted in, including by dialing a short code or cell phone number. Senders have 10 days to honor opt-out requests.

If you do provide a shop, restaurant or other business with your cell phone number, read and understand the entire consent form. Determine if the policy allows the company to sell your information.

Don't display your cell phone number or email address in public and be careful about giving out your cell phone number, email or other personal information.

Don't respond to unwanted texts or emails from questionable sources.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon customers can forward the text to 7726 (SPAM), which helps providers prevent future unwanted texts from that sender. Sprint tells users that to block a short code, enter 9999 and block followed by the short code.

Check your cell phone provider's website for options for blocking texts.

If you believe you're a victim, file a complaint at; to minimize further damage, go to

To file an FCC complaint, call 1-888-CALL-FCC or go to

Sources: FCC, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint

© 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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