Protect Yourself From Unwanted Spam

Receiving unnecessary spam on your cell phone isn't just a nuisance — it can be expensive, too. But there are many steps you can take to protect yourself, and prevent spammers from finding your wireless phone number.

First, be sure to take advantage of the free National Do Not Call Registry. Registering both your home and mobile phone is easy and free. Once your phone number is entered into the system, you may call and verify that your number has been registered by using the registry's toll-free number: 1-888-382-1222.

After registering your phone number, telemarketers should not call you. If you continue to receive calls, you can file a complaint on the Do Not Call Web site.

According to Mitchell Katz, a spokesman for the Federal Trade Commission, "Putting a number on the Do Not Call Registry is designed to stop telemarketers, not spam."

If you continue to receive unwanted spam, tell your cell phone carrier so that they are aware of the problem. The Federal Communications Commission suggests that you also file a complaint with their agency.

Here are more tips from the FCC:

1) Distribute your wireless number sparingly.

2) Don't display your wireless phone number or e-mail address in public. This includes newsgroups, chat rooms, Web sites, or membership directories.

3) If you open an unwanted message, send a stop or opt out message in response.

4) Check the privacy policy when submitting your wireless phone number or e-mail address to any Web site. Find out if the policy allows the company to sell your information.

5) Before you transmit personal information through a Web site, make sure you read and understand the entire transmitting form. Some Web sites allow you to opt out of receiving e-mail from partners — but you may have to uncheck a preselected box if you want to do so.

6) You may want to use two e-mail addresses — one for personal messages and one for newsgroups and chat rooms. Also, consider using a disposable e-mail address service that creates a separate e-mail address that forwards messages to your permanent account. If one of the disposable addresses starts to receive spam, you can turn it off without affecting your permanent address.

7) Try using a longer and unique e-mail address. Your choice of e-mail addresses may affect the amount of spam that you receive. A common name like "mjones" may get more spam than a more unique name like da110x110. Of course, it's harder to remember an unusual e-mail address.

8) Use an e-mail filter. Some service providers offer a tool that filters out potential spam or channels spam into a bulk e-mail folder. You may also want to consider filtering capabilities when choosing an Internet service provider.

For more information, please visit the FTC's information page dedicated to informing consumers about spam prevention. CLICK HERE to visit the FTC.