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If you review your text inbox right now, you will discover that you have received about three spam texts from robots in the past week. These are junk messages that spammers generate and send, directing the recipient to click a link, open an attachment, or call a number. While robotexts are a step down from the nuisance of robocalls, they are even more dangerous.

According to services that intercept these calls and texts, Americans get about 5 to 7.5 billion spam texts every month. California ranks second for the state where residents receive the most scam texts – at nearly 736 million robotexts. The average person receives about 22 texts and several spam calls per month.

Experts attribute the uptick in spam texts to residents' aversion to answering phone calls from unknown numbers. Consequently, scammers have become more dependent on text messages to reach unsuspecting victims and steal personal or financial information through phishing text links. The Federal Trade Commission discussed how to identify and avoid phishing scams.

However, you do not have to put up with calls or texts from unknown persons or robots. Services such as Robokiller and Nomorobo use anti-spam technology to stop texts and calls from scammers and robots. However, there is still the issue of the unknown calls and texts that reach your phone. If you call back, you could become a victim of one-ring phone scams.

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Experts attribute the uptick in spam texts to residents' aversion to answering phone calls from unknown numbers.

But how do you distinguish between calls from your family physician or a loved one reaching out from missed notifications from scammers? A reverse phone search identifies unknown callers. Phone number owners have to provide their personal information during registration with a mobile carrier. So when you enter the unknown number into the search, the website will search mobile carrier registries in California and retrieve information on the caller. These include name, address, and even social media account. You may then report the number to the FCC and block all communication from the number on your phone.

Meanwhile, in a broader attempt to curb spam calls and texts, Congress enacted the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act. Although signed into law in 2019, most larger phone carriers will not establish protocols to restrict caller ID spoofing until June 2021. The deadline is farther for smaller phone carriers, who have until 2023 to comply with the TRACED Act.

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In the meantime, listing on the do not call registry, a reverse phone lookup, and anti-spam services are your best bets. You should also take steps to protect your online security.