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How to block incoming text messages

In the cellular world, spam isn’t free. On your computer, it’s a mere annoyance. But when you receive unsolicited messages on your cell phone, it costs money. So if you’re not one of the many who have text messaging bundles, you’re going to need a way to filter out these messages. But how?

The problem is that this varies by carrier. Surprising as it may be, many carriers don’t offer you the option of blocking text messages from a certain number. Logic dictates that this should be a service offered by carriers, if for no other reason than to curb harassing communication.

Some carriers don’t even allow you the option to block text messages at all. This seems a bit odd as well. Some people genuinely do not want to use text messaging. Since they clearly would not be subscribing to a messaging bundle, they’d be charged for each text sent to them.

Take my mother for instance. She hasn’t a clue how to text message. But when I went to help her with her phone, I found a number of them in her inbox. They were from friends and family, and with good intentions. However, my mother was not aware of their presence. She was obviously charged for these text messages. If she had the ability to turn text messaging off — which makes sense, because she doesn’t use the feature — she wouldn’t have been charged.

Blocking texts from a specific phone number

Did you know that of the carriers I talked to from our pay-as-you-go phone providers, only one has the ability to block text messages from an individual number? That would be Alltel. They have a feature called Message Register, which allows you to block communications from specific people. Why other carriers don’t implement this kind of feature, I’ll never know.

So if you’re getting harassing text messages, you’d better hope you’re on Alltel. If not, your options are precious few. Actually, there’s only one option: Turn off text messaging completely. And even then, there’s no guarantee that your provider can do that.

Turn it off totally

A few carriers do allow you to completely turn off your text messaging functions. With it turned off, you’re effectively blocking text messages, and thereby will not be charged for them.

So if you’re a customer of Verizon, AT&T, or Virgin Mobile, you can call customer service and have them shut off your text messaging feature. And that will be the end of that.

The prepaid unlimited carriers are similar. You can turn off text messaging in total, but not block from certain numbers. Not that turning off text messaging will save you money. It’s all unlimited with Cricket and MetroPCS, so turning off text messaging only serves to hinder annoyances.

You’ll get text messages whether you like it or not

Are you a customer of T-Mobile or Boost? Well, then you’re just going to have to deal with annoying text messages. Neither company will shut off your text messaging, no matter how many harassing text messages you receive.

I don’t understand how this is good company policy. Yes, there is money to be made in SMS. But there’s further money to be made in customer satisfaction. This goes doubly for prepaid. If a customer does not like a service, he or she can walk away.

So if you don’t plan to use SMS, it might not be a good idea to go with Boost or T-Mo. Even if you don’t give out your number — which could help ensure that you don’t get charged for text messages — there’s always the possibility that you’re inheriting the number of a big texter.

What about Tracfone

What would an article about prepaid providers be without the nation’s No. 1 carrier? They’re left off to a section of their own because I found it difficult to get a straight answer out of them. Yes, they said, you can block SMS messages. “There are ways to do it,” said the representative. But when I pressed for specifics, I was stonewalled.

The solution with Tracfone: Buy one of their old phones which don’t support SMS. Yeah, they’re archaic, but they ensure that you won’t incur charges for unwanted messages — because you won’t be able to receive them in the first place.

A note about shortcodes

I’ve seen forum posts which claim that you can text message “B [phone number you wish to block]” to shortcode 8888. I have not heard any confirmation of this, nor have I tried it myself. Has anyone else? It seems to me that if this does work, it doesn’t block the text message at the carrier’s switch. Which means that you’ll still be charged, even if you don’t ever receive the message.

Blocking text message spam

If it’s not an individual you’re after, but rather it’s text message spam you want to stop, there is a way. Carriers do offer an option where you can block emails coming to you via an Internet protocol. Since spam is mostly sent en masse through teh Internet, blocking Internet-based messages will curb your daily dose of SMS spam.

You can also block text messages coming to your phone number @ your (e.g., [email protected]). This is another frequent source of spam.

Report spam

In any event, should you receive text message spam, you should immediately report it to your service provider. Many of them, like Verizon, will give you a credit for the spam message. Not all carriers do this, but even if they don’t, still make sure to inform them of spam. Hey, maybe it will help them wake up one day and do more about it.

We all hate spam. So let’s do all we can to eradicate ourselves of it.

74 Responses

  1. Melissa E. Says

    Any tips on fixing missing incoming text messages?

    Posted on April 18th, 2008 at 12:38 pm
  2. Melissa E. Says

    Oh, outgoing problem as well.

    Posted on April 18th, 2008 at 12:38 pm
  3. Joe Says

    No, I’m sorry Melissa, but I don’t have any advice on that. I know it’s a common problem, usually occurring when you get texts from an carrier other than your own. But that’s a problem completely with the carrier’s switch.

    Posted on April 25th, 2008 at 8:36 am
  4. julie g Says

    Using the short code 8888 than B and number does work on blocking incoming text messages

    Posted on July 24th, 2008 at 7:07 pm
  5. JJ Says


    Posted on September 2nd, 2008 at 12:16 am
  6. Lynda Says

    I’m trying to help my boyfriend find a good pay as you plan. He has an ex-wife that fills his vm with vulgarities. He needs to be in touch with her because of their son. What I’m trying to locate for him is a cheap phone that he can change his current number to, that has very limited minutes and NO texting. This number will be for the ex. He’ll get another phone for the other people in his life. Your help is GREATLY appreciated.

    Posted on September 15th, 2008 at 7:10 pm
  7. Joe Says

    Lynda, I would look into Page Plus, since their minutes expire after 120 days. That means he can spend less money and it will last longer.

    Posted on September 16th, 2008 at 10:09 am
  8. Adam Says

    So once you use the short code 8888 b and the number, how do you reverse getting the text messages? If you wanted to do so.

    Posted on October 8th, 2008 at 7:43 am
  9. Yomi Says

    My Dad took text messaging of my phone and my brother’s phone. We really want to get it back, he took off the abilities to send and to recieve text messages. We are with Verizon Wireless, how would we get it back without him finding out?

    Posted on December 25th, 2008 at 1:49 pm
  10. Laura Sebastien Says

    I wanted to know How do I block text messages from other people but, not from the tracfone company

    Posted on December 27th, 2008 at 1:16 pm
  11. Nabz Says

    my phones says that i have at ext message-e.g. on the top icon of my wallpaper screen i get the normal message icon come up but when i check i dont actually have any un read text messages!!!??- strange…can any1 help me out. thankyou

    Posted on December 30th, 2008 at 9:27 pm
  12. Benjamin Johnson Says

    I called boost about some web charges and asked them to block everything (since I only use the phone part.) The agent said he was blocking everything, but I never heard him say texting. I asked him about blocking texts and he said he couldn’t do it. He then asked if there was anything else and I said yea there was, please ask your supervisor why you cant block texts.. he mumbled please hold.. he came back on the phone a few minutes later and said that my supervisor talked to her supervisor and they did a “Packet data block” on my phone and I will no longer receive texts on my boost mobile phone. I hope this helps all of you!! YOU MUST BE FORWARD AND WILLING TO ARGUE TO GET WHAT YOU WANT!!

    Posted on March 23rd, 2009 at 11:31 pm
  13. Lenny Says

    Mobile phone utilities like TextGuard can help you block selected phone numbers. It not only provides mobile phone security, bu monitoring and archiving text messages for you on a remote server, but it also allows you to block selected numbers, so that you do not receive messages from them. TextGuard is a handy utility and currently works on BlackBerry and Windows Mobile phones, with Symbian and Android support being released soon. Users can block unwanted message spam as well as text messages from selected numbers.

    Posted on April 2nd, 2009 at 8:04 am
  14. Ruth Says

    The post about 8888B-# to block texts from a specific number: was that for Tracfones?
    Any info on how to unblock a number if you want it back?
    Thanks all for your input.

    Posted on April 2nd, 2009 at 9:01 am
  15. Jackie Says

    That’s is UNTRUE about alltell being the only prepaid that can block text by phone number…..You can block incoming text by phone number with VIRGIN MOBILE!

    Posted on June 19th, 2009 at 11:47 am
  16. bleh Says

    omg tmobile is the best!! even tho they cant shut off this service… who cares really!! if u get harrasing messages then u could report it..DUH!!!

    Posted on July 30th, 2009 at 9:29 pm
  17. Ashley Says

    I’ve tried the B (number you want blocked) and then sent it to 8888 and it only works for alltel. My boyfriend has US Cellular and we tried it on his and they send a text message back saying it doesn’t work for his system.

    Posted on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:45 am
  18. Ashley Says

    and to unblock a number thats been blocked you send U (plus the 10 digit number you blocked) to 8888.

    Posted on August 3rd, 2009 at 11:46 am
  19. Ray Says

    This was Tracfone’s response to the question about blocking ALL test messaging to a phone.

    “Please be advised that TracFone Wireless will not be able to block or
    deactivate the text messaging feature on your phone. Text messaging is a
    free built-in feature of the phone. Removing this feature may affect the
    phone’s performance.

    Text messaging is a quick and easy way to stay in touch with your
    friends and family when it is difficult to talk. You can send a text
    message of up to 160 characters directly to most other wireless phones.
    Text messaging rates vary based on the phone model and technology.

    Should you have any further questions or concerns, please contact one of
    our customer care representatives at 1-800-867-7183.”

    Just let me say thanks to the Rons at Trac CS for this usfull response. I’m unsure how to say “I don’t want it no matter how wonderful you think it is”, to them.


    Posted on August 29th, 2009 at 5:06 pm
  20. Alison Says

    There have been several questions about Shortcodes. I have used the 8888 shortcode with success. To block send a text to 8888, in the message line put B + the 10 digit number. For example B9195548741. If it doesn’t work leave a space between the B and the number. Ex: B 9195548741. To unblock, sent U + 10 digit number to 8888. This works for Alltel I can confirm, I’m going to try my verizon phone this evening!!

    Posted on October 5th, 2009 at 12:30 pm
  21. Rachel Says

    If you have sprint and you would like to block texts from a certain number, text 9999. in the message line put the ten digit number and send.

    Posted on October 14th, 2009 at 3:47 pm
  22. Existing Boost Customer Says

    You can block incoming text with Boost Mobile by sending a text to 9999. Type the word Block then enter a space then the number youwant to block (area code first). You will then get a confirmation stating the number is blocked.

    Posted on October 22nd, 2009 at 10:00 am
  23. bbrree Says

    The 8888 thing does not work for Verizon

    Posted on November 29th, 2009 at 9:02 am
  24. Alltel/Verizon Says

    Tried texting B then a space and the 10 digit number for Alltel/Verizon and it worked. They send a confirmation text to you letting you know it is blocked successfully. Thanks to all for the info

    Posted on December 1st, 2009 at 8:42 pm
  25. rickyelias Says

    this works for sprint

    Posted on December 3rd, 2009 at 11:43 am
  26. jenn Says

    ok i hav boost mobile and they told me that as long as the number is not in your phonebook u go thru your menu into profiles under standard hit edit then call filters click notifications and u can choose to block just txts calls or all etc but now im jus gettin txts from the same person jus without the # being saved.. i tired both te B########## to 8888 and block ########## to 9999 n neither seem to hav worked– i hav boost HELP i havb a stalker and cant change my # due to my business

    Posted on January 8th, 2010 at 2:18 am
  27. Djairo Says

    how can i block unwanted textmessages from individuals on a LG Keybo.
    my provider Telus said they cant block it in there system. is there a way to do it on my phone myself instead of turning off all texting?

    Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 8:03 pm
  28. Marjorie Says

    Is there some possible way to block a caller on a Samsung SCH-R451C Straight Talk phone using the 1000 minute cards purchased at Walmart? My 12 year-old is getting harassing texts from a bully 24/7 and she is a prisoner of her phone unless she turns it off and is not able to use it. PLEASE HELP US!!!!!

    Posted on February 5th, 2010 at 2:52 pm
  29. Marjorie Says

    Also, I forgot to mention that I already contacted the company with no luck. Is there any shortcodes out there that will work? I tried B ########## w/o any luck either.

    Posted on February 5th, 2010 at 3:01 pm
  30. Angie Says

    Does anyone know if the block works for at&t too? I called at&t customer service and they told me i would be charged $4.99/mo Just to block a personal number. Ridiculous!

    Posted on February 18th, 2010 at 9:25 pm
  31. troy schlaht Says

    yes you can block text messageing on telus the telus mike – iden network does this they can block all incomming and outgoing text messageing options, if you have an non complient mike phone that you can texted on the web only fature then i’m not sure if they can suspend it or not the ask them for unlimited text messageing to be on the safe side if you have an mike balckberry and you only can texted on the web service only ask about the messageing 30 plan for $3 month to cover you.good luck .

    Posted on April 7th, 2010 at 1:50 am
  32. Text question? Says

    Note I call straight talk you can not block text message or anything they don’t have that feature. Also does at@t go phones and verizon prepaid have the ablity and feature to block cellphone number from texting and calling with out blocking text message feature ?

    Posted on April 17th, 2010 at 4:00 pm
  33. Text question Says

    Sadly Marjorie Trac phone is the same company with straight talk and they do not block or deactivate there text message service. They have horrible customer service in another country when trying to contact them. Do not go with straight talk and trac phone.

    Posted on May 15th, 2010 at 9:37 pm
  34. Lisa Says

    Hi is there any way to block a certain number from coming into a bell cell phone. Its a ex

    Posted on June 8th, 2010 at 2:10 pm
  35. James Says

    I have been receiving spam text messages such as “Low mortgage rates are available now…” or “Singles in your area want to meet you…” I called Tracfone today requesting they block text messaging as there is a charge for each messsage. When I called Tracfone and received a non-helpful, barely English speaking person, he said they cannot block test messages and suggested that I “tell them not to send messages anymore.” Not helpful.

    Posted on June 16th, 2010 at 8:38 am
  36. eyedidit Says

    For those of you on tracphone or straight talk. I just tried the 8888 code on my phone to block out a specific number of a very annoying person who was texting me and IT WORKS!!! I even got a confirmation message that the number is now blocked. You have to type B+ the number you want blocked. But leave a space after the B.(For example:
    B 123456789) notice I left a space between the B and the 10 digit number I want blocked. Then send it to 8888. Thats all folks!! Happy Blocking!!! :o )

    Posted on June 24th, 2010 at 9:56 am
  37. eyedidit Says

    to block a specific number send message type B + the 10 digit number you want to block: See the sample below

    (B 123456789 send to 8888. )

    This works for tracphone and straight talk phones as well.

    Posted on June 24th, 2010 at 9:59 am
  38. straighttalkcrap Says

    I did the B xxxxxxxxxx to 8888 from my straight talk cell and was told the action was not allowed.

    Posted on July 3rd, 2010 at 3:59 pm
  39. eyedidit Says

    I dont know maybe only certain phones can do it then. I have the samsung r451c. I have straight talk. I use the 1000 minutes and 1000 texts $30 plan. I just successfully blocked my second number from my phone using the above method not even 20 minutes ago. Here is the text message exactly as it appeared I received in my inbox showing that the number is now blocked:

    From: 8888

    Destination of
    ######### added
    to Block List.

    Mon. Jul 12 8:00PM

    Posted on July 12th, 2010 at 7:21 pm
  40. eyedidit Says

    BTW-I am on eastern standard time.

    Posted on July 12th, 2010 at 7:21 pm
  41. text question Says

    The Problem with straight talk and trac phone is that the blocking on cellphone only work for the older models i think? and might not work for the newer ones. Also as i said i called straight talk which is the same company as trac phone from Walmart and they said that they do not block calls or text also it was hard calling them. It Might work if you have and older model but who knows?

    Posted on August 11th, 2010 at 11:49 am
  42. sion Says

    i have boost and texting “block#” to 9999 did it for me and my curve.

    Posted on September 2nd, 2010 at 12:05 am
  43. Ben Says

    For Boost Mobile; To block a number, send a text message to 9999
    Message format is; the word “Block” one space and the phone number to be blocked. Example message;

    Block 5551234567

    You are supposed to receive a confirmation message from 9999

    Posted on September 3rd, 2010 at 9:11 pm
  44. Sam Says

    i’m on sasktel and i have a samsung r351 link.. does anyone kno if the shortcodes would work to block someone from my phone?? thanxx

    Posted on September 7th, 2010 at 1:40 am
  45. Brandy Says

    Blocking numbers on Cricket Service is just NOT POSSIBLE. Trust me I’ve tried it all and NOTHING has worked yet. So if I’m missing something, I’m sorry, and PLEASE fill me in.
    I have a crazy ex boyfriend who won’t leave me alone and I DON’T want to change my number AGAIN!!

    Posted on September 16th, 2010 at 9:49 pm
  46. Jessie Says

    I’m with boost and have the Juno… I wrote Block then a space and the 9 digit # then sent it to 9999 and it worked for blocking an unwanted texter but if I want to unblock it how do I do that?? Thanks :)

    Posted on September 23rd, 2010 at 4:13 pm
  47. sprint :D Says

    @Jessie. To unblock just type allow then number

    Ex. Allow 1234567890

    Posted on November 12th, 2010 at 12:19 am
  48. Jake Says

    I used to have Tracfone. I don’t know how it was like for you, but they didn’t charge me for text messages until I opened them.

    Posted on November 18th, 2010 at 10:49 pm
  49. THerman Says

    I have a Tracfone and have called many times asking them not to solicite us with their texts, which they continue to do no matter how many times I have called them. They have horrible customer service. This type of phone and service is only good for someone who rarely uses a cell phone. The phones they offer are horrible. The cameras are useless. The address books offer the ability to put in someones cell and home but you can scroll to pick which one you want to call so you have to put people in twice, one with their cell and the other for home. My husband used to be able to check his messages from home but now they have blocked him from doing so, obviously because they want him to have to do it from his cell so he uses his minutes. I don’t trust the company. Which pay per minute phone has the best customer service and phones as well as rates???

    Posted on December 1st, 2010 at 1:54 am
  50. Techie Says

    The 8888 thing did not work for my Tracfone, a newer LG420… Unfortunately. Just an error msg.

    Posted on December 23rd, 2010 at 9:05 am
  51. Cindy Says

    Tracfone customer service is now out of Columbia which means the English is so poor don’t waste your time calling. They confirmed there is still no way to block text messages and the best advice is to change the phone number. This was an elderly parent’s backup phone and there is now 40 text messages each arriving about 2-5 minutes apart. If you view the message Tracfone is charging 30 minutes of air time.

    Best advice we found by ourselves is to set the phone to automatically delete each text message.

    Posted on December 31st, 2010 at 12:06 pm
  52. CathySue Says

    Help please! I have a TracFone and accidentally blocked my fiance from sending me texts. Tried to text U########## (with and without a space between the letter and number) what can I do?

    Posted on January 18th, 2011 at 12:14 am
  53. Morgan Says

    I was once friends with this girl until she turned into a sphyco! She will not stop texting me! Someone please help me. What is a fast easy way to block her and others from sending me random texts and picture messages all day long that are running up my bill super fast???? I cant afford it…

    Posted on February 19th, 2011 at 7:13 pm
  54. Text Question Says

    I would not go with Trac Phone or T mobile or Verizion wireless those type of company will not block text message i had all of them and tested them and none of company’s are help full.

    Posted on February 23rd, 2011 at 6:48 pm
  55. Luna Says

    How do I block incoming text from just one number on my Virgin Mobile phone? My phones a Samsung. I tried the 8888 and 9999 things, didn’t work on my phone. I need help, I’m being harassed. Thank you!

    Posted on March 22nd, 2011 at 3:42 am
  56. shauna Says

    Ok i have this ex friend an she wont leave me alone she keeps txting me stuff i dont want like cuss words an stuff how do i make it where she cant send that stuff to me???

    Posted on April 5th, 2011 at 7:01 pm
  57. me Says

    thank you for boost code came in handy today :)

    Posted on April 11th, 2011 at 4:52 pm
  58. Brianna Says

    i only have 1000 sending and recieving text messages of out of network (meaning not verizon) i go over alot because of what people send me. is there a way that once i hit so many recieved texts that i can restrict/block any out of network messages from coming in?

    Posted on April 20th, 2011 at 11:03 am
  59. Marcy Says

    I used boost and blocked a number using 9999 and it worked for me even with the number in my contacts

    Posted on April 28th, 2011 at 5:56 pm
  60. kjc Says

    If you have Straighttalk unlimited they cannot deactivate the texting featured as it is “bundled,” they said. I don’t use texting but was getting unwanted, unknown text msgs so what we did at their recommendation is to change the phone number and reactivate phone. The old number had somehow gotten into unwanted hands. I don’t even give out my phone number, so it was definitely an intrustion. So, if you have Straighttalk, they will do this as a solution to unwanted text msgs. or harrassment. That was good enough for my purposes.

    Posted on May 11th, 2011 at 8:19 am
  61. kjc Says

    p.s. on Straighttalk: no trouble reaching them if you call immediately when they open at 8 a.m. EST. Four layers in to reach customer service but these days, par for the course with any large business.Ignore it. Have two screens up on your computer: Straight talk’s, and your email service. They will ask you to do things on both. Have your Straighttalk cell phone turned on but call them from your landline. They advised having the long MEID number handy that came with your phone, but I was never asked for that. None of this was much of a problem.

    Posted on May 11th, 2011 at 8:26 am
  62. Nicolas Says

    The solution to problem callers is easy. Use a Google Voice number as your primary and forward it to whatever phone you use, pay-as-you-go or otherwise. With Google Voice you can easily block any number. If you use Google Voice you will always have the same number, even if you change phone companies, without the nuisance or cost of porting a number.

    Posted on May 31st, 2011 at 5:21 pm
  63. noone Says

    yes the 8888 for vzn works. i used it alot

    Posted on June 15th, 2011 at 4:34 pm
  64. missy Says

    Boost can block individuals from texting them. in the address put 9999. In the message part, put BLOCK space and the full number of the person you want to block. As this BLOCK 555-555-5555 And send it. then you’ll get a text saying that you have successfully blocked that person.

    Posted on June 22nd, 2011 at 11:28 pm
  65. rtm0430 Says

    I have boost. is there any way to see what is blocked under your account either through 9999 or what boost has blocked on there end?

    Posted on July 6th, 2011 at 11:37 pm
  66. Matt Says

    If you have Trac phone or Straight talk sadly you can not do anything about it. but change your number. Straight talk and trac phone are same company i have used both they have customer service not even in USA? I would change to a different phone company

    Posted on August 4th, 2011 at 5:47 pm
  67. iman Says

    HI i live in iran how can i block sms number to my phone?

    Posted on August 25th, 2011 at 6:32 pm
  68. Jackie Says

    Text “9999″ and type “Help All” on Boost Mobile Prepaid phones to receive info on how to use their Blocking Texts feature.

    Posted on September 1st, 2011 at 12:39 pm
  69. Rita Says

    Hi I was wondering if this 8888 method will work for Cricket?

    Posted on September 4th, 2011 at 9:29 pm
  70. Mom Says

    I just tried the 8888 theory on my straight talk / tracfone and it DID NOT work.

    Posted on October 2nd, 2011 at 9:18 pm
  71. Brit Says

    Does the 8888 thing work for Verizon contract phones? I don’t want to go through the whole My Verizon thing because the phone is under my parents name.

    Posted on January 9th, 2012 at 9:47 pm
  72. Chris Says

    I have a Pantech model P7040 phone and I have a friend who has an app that allows him to send multiple messages at one time and I wondered if the B (8888) number works and how…I have an At&t plan

    Posted on February 28th, 2012 at 12:38 pm
  73. eli Says

    yes by sending block space ten didgit number to 9999 works it will send you a confirmation msg saying it was blocked boost mobil blocked verizon

    Posted on September 6th, 2012 at 3:18 am
  74. jodi Says

    does the quick codes work on page plus phones? and is it permnant

    Posted on March 24th, 2013 at 6:27 pm

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