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Thread: Why do carriers allow text message ages from invalid numbers through to customers?

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    Why do carriers allow text message ages from invalid numbers through to customers?

    I’m not sure that this is an AT&T-specific problem, but when I search for spam texts from area code 410, all the results point to AT&T forums.

    One example:
    https://forums.att.com/t5/Data-Messa...1/td-p/5745471

    All the AT&T reps in the forum do is post generic, canned responses to report the number and then mark the answer as “solved” when it isn’t since, years later, people are still complaining about spam texts from the same list of faked phone numbers.

    People in the forums say this has been going on for several years.

    I don’t understand why carriers allow customers to receive texts from untraceable, and invalid 9-digit phone numbers in the first place and then continue to allow specific numbers through that must been reported by hundreds of customers over the years.

    Carriers like AT&T are so non-responsive about this issue that the spammers don’t even bother changing the area code and prefix they spoof. They only change the last digits of their fake numbers. There aren’t even enough numbers in the spoofed number for it to be valid in the first place. Seems like it would be pretty easy for carriers to flag and block this.

    Another example of complaints about this: https://forums.att.com/t5/Data-Messa...s/td-p/5297990

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    Keep in mind that your argument sounds like complaining that you get junk mail on your computer and from the USPS. I get enough junk text messages while on Sprint and I just deal with it.

    It's not just At&t where it happens. I don't know what you expect CS reps to do to stop it. The most common source of this garbage is coming from international senders who cannot be regulated under US rules and regulations. I have yet to hear of a "simple" solution like you think seems to exist, and there are current and previous attempts to do so.
    Don't make me turn this car around.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd View Post
    Keep in mind that your argument sounds like complaining that you get junk mail on your computer and from the USPS. I get enough junk text messages while on Sprint and I just deal with it.

    It's not just At&t where it happens. I don't know what you expect CS reps to do to stop it. The most common source of this garbage is coming from international senders who cannot be regulated under US rules and regulations. I have yet to hear of a "simple" solution like you think seems to exist, and there are current and previous attempts to do so.
    Your reply is disingenuous and sarcastic. SPAM texts are not the same as mail sent through USPS.
    No, I do not expect the CS rep to personally fix it themselves, but they can escalate it to a team responsible for handling these types of issues.

    SPAM email can be pretty effectively filtered with anti-spam measures. Even though anti-spam measures cannot be 100% effective all of the time, messages that are this blatant, obvious and ongoing for years certainly can be blocked.
    They don't use the excuse that email originated from a foreign country, throw their hands up and say "Nothing can be done, what do you expect?"

    Why can't similar blocking techniques (reputation filters, keyword filters, known invalid blocks of numbers etc,) be applied to SMS messages coming into the cell carrier's network?

    They can't stop spammers from sending, but they can stop their network or end users form receiving them especially after the same number block is reported over and over for years. No regulations in the senders country required.

    I do think this particular block of numbers is AT&T related, because the AT&T forums are the only place it comes up in a Google search.

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    The problem is if the carrier gets too aggressive in blocking SPAM text is if a known user suddenly is unable to send you messages, you will then state the carrier is going to far. Virtually every post paid plan includes unlimited text messages, so I am not certain what the major issue is in the grand scheme of things. With telephone # spoofing, these spammers can make it look like the message is coming from a phone # in your local calling area and this does muddy the water.

    Don't confuse sarcasm with brutal reality. Nothing in my prior post was meant to be sarcastic, I only offered some comparisons.

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    Of course, if spam filtering is misconfigured there will be lost messages. Doesn't mean you don't do it all.
    Same as spam filtering of email. I'm sure some percentage of legitimate email gets flagged as spam. People deal with it and the alternative of not filtering spam won't work for most people. However, if they really want to, they can go into their email account settings and disable spam filtering.

    The same could be true for SMS spam filtering, there could be an option to opt in or opt out of it.
    There is probably is some kind of malicious text filtering at the cell carrier level or there would be or will eventually be a major malware outbreak by text soon.

    The particular set of "410" spam texts is so obvious and well-reported that it doesn't seem to make any sense that they are still going through after all these years.
    They have basically been saying, "Hey AT&T, we've been repeatedly been getting spam texts from 410-100-xxx and 410-200-xxx and we can't block it from the phone because the sender is incrementing the last 3 numbers of the spoofed number from 001 to 999. Why can't you block that range of numbers after so many years of reports and the fact that it isn't even a valid number range?"

    I'm sure there are methods to see if texts are originating from phones or being mass blasted to their customers using servers and also being reported back to them as spam at a high rate.

    Area code 410 is Baltimore. Baltimore phone numbers have 7 digits, not 6. Pretty easy for the carrier to make a filter to block this after getting reports from customers and probably could have been done proactively.

    I've seen it for a while and decided to look it up to see if there was a solution. Then I found the ATT forum showing that this is a known issue going back to before 2017 that there are already multiple threads about, yet nothing was done about it. Irritating.
    Last edited by web1b; 11-17-2019 at 05:38 PM.

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    Every phone # has an area code + 7 digits, not 6 digits in the United States. Baltimore is not unique in that regard. I don't understand what you were referring to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd View Post
    Every phone # has an area code + 7 digits, not 6 digits in the United States. Baltimore is not unique in that regard. I don't understand what you were referring to.
    In case it was supposed to look like some kind of foreign number from a country that uses 6 digit phone numbers.
    Maybe people in Baltimore not counting the digits may think it's a text from someone local and be more inclined to open it and click on links.

    So, Baltimore or not, it isn't a valid number. This is something that can be flagged along with any sender that's been consistently reported as a source of spam. Having an invalid number of digits also prevents recipients from being able to forward it to AT&Ts spam reporting text number. You will have to call customer support or online chat. This could also be a technique to reduce reporting.

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    OK, I am done with this thread. You did make a valid comment and I am not disagreeing with you. Have a good evening.

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    "Invalid" numbers are used to text confirmation codes for 2FA and other services as well. One of the colleges in my area sends texts via a 1 (XXX) XXX-XXX number for campus notifications. One of my credit cards uses "XXX-XXX" to send me notifications every time I make a payment. "Invalid" phone numbers can be useful and I see no reason why they shouldn't exist.

    Chicago, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakeuten View Post
    "Invalid" numbers are used to text confirmation codes for 2FA and other services as well. One of the colleges in my area sends texts via a 1 (XXX) XXX-XXX number for campus notifications. One of my credit cards uses "XXX-XXX" to send me notifications every time I make a payment. "Invalid" phone numbers can be useful and I see no reason why they shouldn't exist.
    Isn't that like a "short code" that's still traceable by the carriers to prevent abuse?
    Customers should at least have the option to filter/block any kind of unverifiable and untraceable anonymous SMS messages that are likely to be SPAM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by web1b View Post
    Isn't that like a "short code" that's still traceable by the carriers to prevent abuse?
    Customers should at least have the option to filter/block any kind of unverifiable and untraceable anonymous SMS messages that are likely to be SPAM.
    I donít want the carrier blocking anything.

    Iím not so lazy that I canít delete obvious B.S. messages when they arrive at my phone. Or just ignore them, which what I do the majority of the time. How can this be such an inconvenience to spend literally 2 seconds to delete an unwanted message?

    Itís my job to decide what communications directed towards my number that I want to keep, ignore, or respond to. Not AT&Tís job or anyone elseís. Just like I donít want the USPS throwing away mail with no return address. Itís addressed to me, do your job and deliver it to me and Iíll be the judge of what to do with it.

    It sounds like some people just get scammed too much and want the phone company to be responsible for their bad decisions. Their job is to deliver communications, not block them, and I will cancel any phone service that starts blocking things ďfor my protectionĒ. Iím not a child, I donít need to be saved from myself.


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    Clonehappy,

    Thanks for clearly stating what I was thinking when I commented earlier in this thread but failed to write myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clonehappy View Post
    I donít want the carrier blocking anything.

    Iím not so lazy that I canít delete obvious B.S. messages when they arrive at my phone. Or just ignore them, which what I do the majority of the time. How can this be such an inconvenience to spend literally 2 seconds to delete an unwanted message?

    Itís my job to decide what communications directed towards my number that I want to keep, ignore, or respond to. Not AT&Tís job or anyone elseís. Just like I donít want the USPS throwing away mail with no return address. Itís addressed to me, do your job and deliver it to me and Iíll be the judge of what to do with it.

    It sounds like some people just get scammed too much and want the phone company to be responsible for their bad decisions. Their job is to deliver communications, not block them, and I will cancel any phone service that starts blocking things ďfor my protectionĒ. Iím not a child, I donít need to be saved from myself.


    Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
    Makes no sense. So, don't sign up for or opt out of filtering then.

    Are you going to turn off the spam filtering in your email too so you can see all the messages that are now getting filtered?
    The vast majority of email sent worldwide is spam.
    What are you going to do when spam texts drastically increase?

    A few years ago I rarely got a robocalls. However, I was getting so many robocalls over the last year that I had to sign up for an external paid service to filter the calls out. I was getting more telemarketing and robocalls than legitimate calls and that was ridiculous.
    There is no similar spam text blocking service available and I have noticed spam texts increasing that were very rare a few years ago.

    The same types of techniques email providers use for blocking massive amounts of spam emails should be applied to SMS also. Not sure why you think USPS postal service mail is more comparable to SMS than email is.

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    Iím fine with a spam blocker being turned off. Itís just one more place I have to go check since it usually catches legitimate email.

    But hereís the thing, I donít give my phone number or email out to just anyone so I donít have the biggest spam problems. Sure, emails get compromised, and of course I have a separate address like most people do to give to the sites and service I expect will spam me.

    Maybe thatís why I see SMS and USPS as being similar, most people only have one physical address and one cell phone number while email addresses can be had for free and are pretty much throwaway at this point.

    I just donít see why everyone is so averse to ignoring or deleting a message they donít want. Why is that the phone companyís job? How do they know you didnít want a marketing message from someone? And as for it being opt-in, it would only be a matter of time before itís opt-out then impossible to turn off, just like useless spam filters that catch legitimate messages constantly.


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    You don't seem to understand the way spammers work.
    You don't need to give your email and phone numbers out to "just anyone." Since it costs them so little to send out millions of emails and robocalls, they can just randomly generate and sequentially dial every phone numbers in the area code. They can also automatically generate email addresses to send to on top of the ones they find in data breaches or are sold to them.

    You are in the minority if the majority of your "unfiltered" email is not spam.
    Sometimes email is filtered once by the email provider and then filtered a second time by an email client.
    Just because you personally don't see enough spam for it to be an issue for you, doesn't mean that it isn't a problem for the majority of people who don't want to sift through majority spam to pick out legitimate messages and don't want this to start happening with SMS. https://www.statista.com/statistics/...traffic-share/

    It's only a matter of time before SMS spam gets as bad as robocalls are already.

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