14.2 million Brits bombarded by SMS spam

  14.2 million Brits bombarded by SMS spam

 41% of respondents rate text message spam as ‘most irritating’ kind of spam

Business Wire

LONDON -- November 22, 2012

A staggering 148.43 million spam texts are received by GB consumers every
month, according to AdaptiveMobile, the world leader in mobile security. The
YouGov online study of over 1,000 consumers who had received text message spam
found that it was rated the most annoying form of spam (41%) ahead of email
(36%) and physical junk mail (17%).

“What starts as an annoyance can very quickly turn into fraud,” says Ciaran
Bradley, VP Handset Security, AdaptiveMobile. “We’ve seen this happen in
America over the last few years and with 60% of the British population having
received unsolicited messages, this is becoming an important issue for the
mobile ecosystem. If we act now, there is no reason why we cannot get rid of
this headache entirely and preserve a channel which is very much trusted by
the nation.”

Despite these problems, SMS is still one of the nation’s most trusted ways of
communicating. 17% of consumers who would trust a common digital channel
ranked SMS as most trusted, second only to email (60%) on an index of trust
around receiving messages from an unknown company or individual. However, this
trust can often be abused: almost a quarter of those who have received junk
SMS messages (22%) have replied ‘opt out’ or ‘stop’ , which tells spammers
that phones are active. Unfortunately, almost half (48%) of consumers who have
replied to text message spam get more spam, receive unwanted calls or may have
money charged to their account.

“Many people will have experienced the irritation of receiving unwanted
marketing calls or spam texts,” says Stephen Eckersley, Head of Enforcement at
the Information Commissioner’s Office. “Better mobile controls can help to
reduce the amount of spam texts an individual receives. We are currently
working to identify companies who continue to send out spam in breach of the
law and we have the power to issue a monetary penalty of up to £500,000
against the worst offenders.”

In the case of money being taken following an SMS spam scam, the research
uncovered that such thefts could go unnoticed for months. According to the
research, 14% of respondents would not query discrepancies on their mobile
bills with their operator until they reached over £5 per month, which could
add up to £20.4m every month, across the population, landing in the pockets of

“29% of those that have received text spam claim that they would leave their
operator if they received between 11 and 30 spam text messages a month.
Unfortunately, one in eight of those who get spam at least once a month (16%)
are already receiving these levels,” concluded Bradley. “There is clear
concern that unless SMS spam is eradicated, operators will experience
significant churn. There needs to be a much better way of reporting spam –
with only 6% having reported spam to their operator or a consumer forum (2%),
some respondents simply don’t know what to do with it (8%). Operators, content
aggregators, security providers and regulators need to work together to expose
the spammers and share data on the culprits to ensure the problem can be
solved once and for all.”


Notes to editors:

Total sample size for the YouGov Plc. survey was 2016 adults, of which 1229
had ever received a spam text message. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th -
31st October 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been
weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

  *Figure of 14.2 million Brits who are bombarded by SMS spam represents 49%
    of respondents who have received mobile spam and receive it once a week or
    more extrapolated to the total GB adult population (47.75 million
    according to latest ONS figures)
  *Figure of 148.43 million spam texts received every month calculated from
    findings showing 48.66% of GB population receive spam every month
    extrapolated to the total GB adult population - 23.24 million. The amount
    received every month as a percentage of the total GB population was then
    added together (10% received one text added to 18% (x2) who received two
    messages and so on)
  *Figure of 17% who ranked SMS as most trusted is a percentage of those who
    would trust a common digital channel from the list of Facebook, Twitter,
    SMS, Email, Instant Messaging (21% of overall respondents)
  *Figure of £20.4m every month, across the GB population, landing in the
    pockets of thieves represents 15% of the 28.58 million Brits that have
    received spam (4.07 million) multiplied by £5.01 per month

In response to these findings AdaptiveMobile is launching its Facebook
consumer spam reporting app. AdaptiveMobile’s approach is an evolution from
traditional spam reporting methods, removing the onus on consumers to remember
shortcode numbers, and moving spam reporting into the social media age.
Available soon will be the SpamGuard app for Android smartphones, enabling
subscribers to report unwanted messages to their network operator from their
mobile device in just one click. Operators will also be able to import
AdaptiveMobile’s Facebook app to their existing Facebook presence, giving
subscribers another easy way of reporting spam. These tools will give
operators accurate evidence of threats and the ability to take direct action
against them, to help solve the global issue of SMS spam.

About AdaptiveMobile:

AdaptiveMobile is the world leader in mobile security, enabling trusted
networks for the world’s largest operator groups and protecting one in six
subscribers globally. AdaptiveMobile provides Operators with the most
comprehensive network-based security solutions enabling them to protect their
consumer and enterprise customers against the growing threat of mobile abuse.
www.adaptivemobile.com / @AdaptiveMobile /#GSIMVI

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