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How to enable suspicious message alerts and protect yourself from spam in Android 13

Duck and dodge spam and malicious messages easily by enabling this easy feature in Android 13.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer on
Person collapsed on desk under pile of papers that say spam
Getty Images

Once upon a midnight dreary, I was inundated with a deluge of spam and malicious messages on Android. Every morning I'd wake up wondering how many such messages would pummel my phone.

But then Google got smart and added features that would help prevent that never-ending rain of unwanted missives. It took Google a while to get it right, but since the platform has evolved, the amount of spam and possibly malicious messages I receive has been reduced dramatically. 

You might be asking yourself, isn't it enough to simply swipe away and delete those messages? 

Of course, to some degree. However, there are instances where those messages aren't just annoying but can possibly be dangerous. The number of phishing and smishing attempts I receive on a daily basis would be unbearable were it not for the ability to enable suspicious message alerts in Android.

Also: How to configure Android to handle incoming spam calls

What does suspicious message alerts do?

Good question. The answer is simple. Suspicious message alerts will inform you if a text message includes a suspicious request or a fake link, or is some other type of potential scam. In many cases, Android will automatically act on those alerts and move those messages immediately to your spam folder (so you don't have to do anything with them).

If that sounds like a feature you want to enable, follow me, and I'll show you the way.

How to enable suspicious message alerts

1. Navigate to the Advanced Settings for Security

On your Android device, open the Settings app. From there, go to Security > Advanced Settings. In that window, you should see a listing for "Suspicious message alerts."

The suspicious message alerts entry in Android Settings.

Enabling suspicious message alerts is far simpler than you probably thought.

Image: Jack Wallen

2. Enable suspicious message alerts

On the resulting page, tap the ON/OFF slider for "Allow alerts." 

The suspicious message alerts ON/OFF slider.

Enabling Suspicious Message Alerts in Android 13.

Image: Jack Wallen

Also: How to get more security out of Android messages

Enable spam protection

There's one other feature you'll want to enable, which is spam protection. Although enabling suspicious message alerts is a great start, you'll want to also enable the spam protection feature, which automatically detects spam and sends Google the necessary data, so it can continually improve the functionality that protects your device from spam. 

To do this, open the Messages app, tap the three-dot menu at the right of the search bar, tap Settings, and then tap "Spam protection." In the resulting page, set the ON/OFF slider to the ON position.

The spam protection ON/OFF Slider.

Enabling spam protection in Android 13.

Image: Jack Wallen

And there you go, you've just given your Android device a helping hand so that it can, in turn, help you avoid the onslaught of spam and malicious messages.

Also: How to unsubscribe from emails in Gmail, Outlook and more

But even with the added protection, I would be remiss if I didn't warn you to never tap on a link or reply to a message from an unknown sender. Even if you only reply to that sender to say, "Wrong person," you've given them everything they need to then hit you with an even more dangerous attack. If you don't recognize a name or phone number, that message should be marked as spam and blocked.

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