17 Spam Text Statistics for 2022 & Spam Text Examples

17 Spam Text Statistics for 2022 & Spam Text Examples

Blank text bubbles on a phone screen

Do you feel like you’ve been getting more spam texts than usual? Odds are, it’s because you are.

Spam texts are unsolicited messages sent by scammers in an attempt to gain personal or financial information. Sometimes, these scammers may use familiar area codes or pretend to be someone you know in order to gain your trust. 

While carriers are constantly implementing new security measures, spam texting has exploded in popularity across the United States over the past few years. There’s even a new word to describe the phenomenon: smishing

At SlickText, we have a zero-tolerance policy for spam texters and smishing attempts, and we go to extensive lengths to keep bad actors from using our SMS marketing services. Keeping up-to-date on the latest spam texting statistics, data, and best safety practices can help you further protect your personal information and identify what a fake message looks like.

The Rise of Spam Texting in 2021 & 2022

It’s not just you — most Americans have seen a dramatic uptick in spam texting. While there’s no one reason for this increase, the COVID-19 pandemic and adapting to a more remote lifestyle have been significant factors. 

  1. From 2020 to 2021, there was a 58% increase in spam texts sent. 

  2. In September of 2021, the number of spam texts sent was 1.227 million. By comparison, in August of 2022, 10.89 billion spam texts were sent.
  3. In April of 2021, Americans received around 16.9 spam texts a month. In April of 2022, that number skyrocketed to 41 spam texts a month. 
  4. There’s no shame in getting caught up in a spam attempt. In fact, as of 2021, 1 in 3 Americans had reported falling for a mobile phone scam, and less than 35% of people realize that they’re a target of a scam texting attack
  5. It’s impossible to get a break from spam texts. In fact, in 2021, January and February were the only months with fewer than 6 billion spam messages sent.
  6. Spam calls decreased by 50% from April to June of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way society operated. 
  7. Spam text frequency surpassed spam call frequency for the first time in 2020, with the gap continuing to widen in 2021 and 2022 (87,850,585,036 spam texts sent vs. 72,236,875,541 spam calls placed).

An infographic on the rise of spam texting and spam texting statistics

States With the Most Spam Texts

Depending on where you live, you might see more spam texts than average. Here are the top five targeted states, as well as the top five states with the most smishing attempts per person. 

The top five states that spam texters targeted in July of 2022 were:

  1. California: 945,462,222
  2. Texas: 926,540,428
  3. Georgia: 797,782,825
  4. Pennsylvania: 660,963,041 
  5. New York: 627,150,910

The states that received the most spam texts per person in 2021 were:

  1. West Virginia: 515
  2. Idaho: 491
  3. New York: 483
  4. Texas: 422
  5. Nevada: 420

An infographic of states that receive the most spam texts.

 

Phone Spam & Spam Texting Statistics & Trends

Here are the scams and fake messages you should be on the lookout for, as well as the most targeted demographics. 

The top five most popular text scams in 2021 dealt with:

  • Deliveries: 26.3%
  • COVID-19: 6.5%
  • Banking: 3.5%
  • Apple products and hardware sweepstakes: 3%
  • Healthcare: 1.2%

Popular scam texting trends:

  1. 59.4% of spam recipients in 2021 were male, while 38.3% were female. 
  2. In 2021, the most targeted age range for phone spam was 35-44 for men and 18-34 for women. The least targeted age range for both genders was 65 and up.  
  3. More recently, smishers have utilized fake two-factor authentication messages to steal personal information. 
  4. Hackers also tend to use local area codes like 10DLCs or spoof numbers you might recognize in order to gain trust. 

An infographic of the most popular spam texting scams and some of the trends to look out for.

 

The Financial Cost of Spam Texts

Not only can you lose vital personal information in a spam attack, but it can also be detrimental to your personal finances. 

  1. Perhaps surprisingly, younger people have reported losing money to overall fraud more than older generations. In 2021, people ages 20-29 lost money 41% of the time they were exposed to fraud, while those over 80 only lost money 17% of the time. When older people lose money, however, the median amount is $1,500, which is three times the amount lost by young people. 
  2. The average amount of money lost from a phone scam in 2021 was $502. In 2020, that number was only $351.
  3. In 2021, there was an estimated $10,066,331,169 lost due to spam texts. 

An infographic showing the amount of money lost to scam texting total, on average, and by age.

 

Spam Text Message Examples

Spam texts have costly consequences if you engage with them, but how do you identify a fake message? Here are some common examples of what a spam text might look like. Knowing what to look for can help you stop getting spam texts in the future.

  1. Prize/Money Awards

“Congratulations! You’ve won a $500 gift card to Target. Click here to claim your reward.”

2. Delivery Notifications

“Hello [Name], your shipment from UPS will arrive today. Click here to track your package.”

3. Verification Texts

“Your Wells Fargo account has been locked for suspicious activity. Please log in here and verify your account.”

4. Gift Card Scams

“Hey, this is [Name]. I’m in a meeting, but I need you to order 5 Amazon gift cards ASAP. I’ll reimburse you once you send them to this email address.”

5. Billing Statements

“[Name], your Verizon billing statement is ready. Please review your charges and send full payment by [date] to avoid late fees.”

How Do You Stop Getting Spam Texts?

At their best, spam texts are simply annoying, but at their worst, they can be a gateway to fraud, identity theft, and cyber crimes — all of which can cost you precious time and money. 

So how do you stop getting spam texts? While there’s no 100% foolproof solution, there are a few things you can do to ensure you only receive the SMS messages you signed up for. 

  • Block the sender

Once you block a number, you won’t receive any calls or texts from them again. On an iPhone, click on the contact that the text came from. When you open the contact card, the Info tab will give you the option to block the number. On an Android, press the three buttons in the top corner of the screen, then select “block and report spam.” 

There’s no limit to the amount of numbers you can block, so you can do this anytime you get a spam text. 

  • Notify your carrier

If a carrier knows that a number is sending spam, they’ll investigate and block them from sending any more messages. All you have to do is forward the spam text you received to 7726 — this works for most major cell phone providers, including AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. 

  • Reply stop

While replying STOP to some spam texts may not work, there’s a chance the spam is from a service you signed up for at one point in time. If that’s the case, then legitimate short codes give you the option to opt-out by simply replying STOP. 

  • Use a spam-blocking app or setting

These days, most phones come with spam-blocking capabilities built in. If you’re on an iPhone, you can go to your settings, select “Messages,” then scroll down until you find the option to filter unknown senders and toggle it on. On Android, open your messages, and click the three dots in the corner. Then, select “Details” and navigate to “App Settings,” then “Spam Protection.” Finally, toggle “Enable Spam Protection” on. Some carriers offer their own spam protection services for free or at a slight charge, like Verizon’s Call Filter and T-Mobile’s Scam Shield.

If you can’t access this setting on your phone or you want another layer of protection, you can download a third-party app. Free and paid options include:

In 2019, a bipartisan bill called the TRACED Act expanded the FCC and Justice Department’s ability to combat scam texting and robocallers. In 2021, the FCC even created a task force called the “Robocall Response Team.” 

As part of their increased efforts to crack down on scam texting and calling, the FTC and FCC allow people to submit complaints which are then investigated by law enforcement.

  • Add your number to the Do Not Call list

Another tool utilized by the FTC is the National Do Not Call list. You can register your number for free, and if you keep receiving spam calls after 31 days, you can file an official report. 

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. RoboKiller
  2. Truecaller
  3. FTC
  4. NPR
  5. Earthweb