I don't know about you, but the amount of spam and possibly malicious SMS messages I receive these days is overwhelming. Daily, I probably receive anywhere from 20-50 such text messages on my Android device. Although stopping this altogether is next to impossible, you can at least block and report any of those messages that come in.
This can be a time-consuming effort when your phone number falls prey to a deluge of spam, so why would you bother with this? First and foremost, some of those attempts are not just spam but malicious attempts to compromise your device. Should you tap on a malicious link in a message, you could fall victim to ransomware, which could encrypt your data. Once that happens, you might not be able to retrieve that data until you pay the ransom.
You don't want that.
According to Palo Alto Networks, ransomware demands jumped 144% in 2021 alone. Another report, from Threat Fabric, says "The most worrying leitmotif is the increasing attention to On-Device Fraud (ODF)." On-Device Fraud points directly to attacks that target apps like Android Messages.
To that end, it's important to block and report those messages. Not just to protect you, but to protect others from falling prey to the same attempt from the same number.
So, how do you mark and block such SMS messages that come into your Android device? It's actually very easy to do. Let's walk through the process.
The only things you'll need for this are an updated Android device and an SMS message to block. I will say that you should be careful with reporting and blocking these messages. Only block those messages you truly suspect to be malicious.
And now, let's mark those messages as spam and block them.
Marking and blocking messages
1. Locate a suspect message
Open the Android Messages app and scroll through your messages to locate the message in question (Figure 1).
2. Mark the message as spam and block it
Long-press that message and you'll see a new toolbar appear at the top of the app (Figure 2).
Tap the octagon with the exclamation point and then, when prompted (Figure 3), tap Report Spam.
You might see a different popup during the process, one that not only allows you to report the message but also block them (Figure 4).
3. Viewing Spam messages
After tapping Report Spam, the message will then be moved to the Spam & Blocked folder in Messages. If you've accidentally reported a message, you can find it by tapping the three-dot menu at the top right of the Message app. Tap that and then tap Spam & Blocked (Figure 5).
If you find a message has been accidentally blocked, tap it and then, in the resulting window (Figure 6), tap Not spam.
And that is all there is to blocking and reporting SMS messages on Android. Use this feature wisely and it can help protect you (to an extent) from malicious text messages.