Spammers now targeting cell phones. Here's how to stop it

Spammers now targeting cell phones. Here's how to stop it »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – It's the new spam: Strange text messages offering prizes or gift cards are being sent to cell phones.

Text spam doubled last year. The messages look like they're from Best Buy, Walmart or Apple. They promise $1,000 gift cards, loans and iPads.

But don't be fooled. While some are harmless, other spammers may want your private information to sell or hack accounts.

Scott Kveton's company, Urban Airship, invented technology that sends messages to your phone but through push notifications from the apps you downloaded, not texts.

"It's a bummer because anybody can get a SMS message on their phone and so these folks are taking advantage of that," he said.

Kveton says most legitimate companies will not do business with you via text unless you signed up for it.

"If you tick off the user, they just delete you, right? And that just stops that brand. And that's the worst thing that can happen for a brand. So brands are really careful how they engage through this medium," he said.

Mobile spam is illegal but difficult to track and harder to stop.

So how do you stop these annoying texts? All the phone companies say the same thing: Do not text "no" or "stop." The messages tell you to, and you think it might work. But that only tells the spammers your number is, in fact, a working number, which can then be resold.

Instead, forward the unwanted text to "SPAM" or 7726. It's free to send texts to that number. It lets your phone company know it is spam. Sometimes it can block or cancel the account, but it can also use that information to filter out spam so someone else doesn't get it.

Report the spam to the FTC or FCC and don't give out your information.