How Do I Stop Short Code Text Messages?

Are you receiving unsolicited text messages or looking for a solution to stop any SMS short code text messages that you’ve opted into? This article outlines a few steps that mobile phone users can take to stop SMS short code text messages. 

 

Text STOP, END, CANCEL, UNSUBSCRIBE, or QUIT

The easiest way to stop receiving unwanted short code text messages is to simply reply with the word “STOP” to the short code. If the short code is functioning properly, the user should receive a text message response from the short code confirming that they’be been unsubscribed from receiving future short code text messages. To illustrate an example, below is an example of a short code responding to “STOP” and confirming the user is unsubscribed from future messages.

If texting “STOP” doesn’t stop unwanted text messages from the short code, consider the two following steps:

  1. If a mobile phone user has a signature at the end of their text message, the shortcode system might not receive the opt-out message properly. For example, if a computer receives “STOP – Sent by iPhone” from a mobile phone number, the system may not be smart enough to understand the intent. To check on this, users can send a text message to a family or friend to confirm if there is a signature added to the end of the text messages. If there is a signature, it is recommended to disable it and try to unsubscribe again.
  2. If the above steps don’t work, users can try texting “UNSUBSCRIBE” or “END” to the short code that they’re receiving unwanted text messages from. Along with the word “STOP”, the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) requires text message programs to acknowledge and respect a customer’s requests to opt-out of text message programs. Short code programs must respond to the following opt-out keywords:
    • STOP
    • END
    • CANCEL
    • UNSUBSCRIBE
    • QUIT

If a short code is still sending unwanted text messages, that means that the short code is not functioning properly. Below are the steps the US Short Code Directory recommends if the previous methods don’t stop short code messages.

 

Contact the Business

If a short code is not responding to opt-out keywords, users should contact the brand or SMS marketing provider running the short code campaign. There are few ways to find the contact information for the brand or the SMS provider. Below are a few ways that the US Short Code Directory recommends finding contact information for a specific short code:

  1. Help Command: One of the easiest ways that users can find contact information for a short code campaign is to text the word “HELP” to the short code. If the short code is functioning correctly and is compliant with CTIA short code standards, then the user should receive a text message in return. The text message response should contain either a toll-free support phone number or an email support address for the brand or SMS marketing provider. If this process works, the US Short Code Directory recommends using this contact information to inform the brand that users are unable to unsubscribe from their short code text messages. When contacting the brand, communicate the phone number that you’re receiving unwanted text messages on, the short code that is sending the unwanted text messages, and an example of one of the unwanted messages. 
  2. Search the Directory: If texting “HELP” doesn’t return a message or contain any short code contact information, the US Short Code Directory recommends using the search tool to determine information about a specific SMS short code. To look up an SMS short code, click here. 
    • Support Contact Information: In the directory, users may find the short code’s phone or email support contact information. Using this information, we recommend sending your unsubscribe request through those channels.
    • Terms & Conditions Link: If the short code is listed in the directory, look for the URL for the short code’s terms and conditions. If present, visit the short code’s terms and conditions, as these pages usually include contact information for the brand or the SMS provider managing the short code.
    • Brand Information: If none of the information above is present in the short code directory, check to see if the brand’s website is listed. If listed, visit the brand’s website, look for contact information, and use it to contact the brand to request they stop sending you text messages.

 

Contact Your Wireless Phone Provider

If none of the above things work to stop short code text messages to your mobile phone, the next step is to contact your wireless phone provider. When contacting your wireless phone provider, first tell them that you’re receiving unwanted “short code text messages”, along with the short code number that is sending these unwanted text messages. Then, let them know the previous attempts to unsubscribe on your mobile phone by texting “STOP”, “UNSUBSCRIBE”, and “END” to the short code. The wireless carrier will do either of two things:

  1. Assist in getting in contact with the brand or the SMS provider that is sending the text messages.
  2. Assist in blocking that short code from sending text messages to your mobile phone.

To help you contact your wireless phone provider, we’ve listed the top 10 providers, and their customer support phone numbers below.

  • Verizon –  (800) 922-0204
  • AT&T – (800) 331-0500
  • Sprint/Nextel – (888) 211-4727
  • T-Mobile – (800) 937-8997
  • Tracfone – (800) 867-7183
  • MetroPCS – (888) 863-8768
  • Clearwire – (888) 253-2794
  • U.S. Cellular – (888) 944-9400
  • Cricket – (800) 274-2538
  • Simple Mobile – (877) 878-7908

 

Report Short Code Issues

If texting “STOP” to a short code doesn’t work or if there’s another issue with a short code, reporting the short code is essential so the issues can be resolved. The US Short Code Directory recommends reporting short code issues to the following two organizations:

  1. Contact the Short Code Registry directly through the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA). To do this, click here.
  2. Report the unsolicited text message to Spam Response, powered by WMC Global, by filling out the form in full at www.spamresponse.com. WMC Global, Spam Response’s parent company, is tasked by the CSCA & CTIA to monitor and enforce short code best practices.

To assist these organizations, please provide the following information:

  • The mobile phone number you’re using to interact with the short code.
  • The short code number you’re interacting with.
  • The short code issue you’re experiencing and the steps you’ve taken to try and resolve the issue.
  • Examples of text messages you’ve received from that short code.

 

Report Text Message Spam

In any industry, there’s always going to be a form of spam. Even with all the hard work the wireless phone providers, the CTIA and the CSCA do to stop text message spam through short codes, it still happens, unfortunately.

If you’re receiving text message spam from a short code, report short code spam to Spam Response by filling out the form in full at www.spamresponse.com.

If you believe you’re a victim of text message spam, you may be able to claim damages under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

What Is the US Short Code Directory Learning Center?

The US Short Code Directory Learning Center is a central source for SMS short code questions and answers. It contains a wide range of resources about short codes, compliance, tips, and more.

To understand the type of resources users can find, below are some frequently asked questions the learning center has answered:

  • How do I find available short codes?
  • What are some good tips for selecting a good short code?
  • How much does an SMS short code cost?
  • What is the Common Short Code Administration (CTIA)?
  • What is a vanity short code?
  • What is a dedicated short code?

To find the answers to your SMS short code questions, visit the US Short Code Directory Learning Center here.