How do I stop someone sending unwanted text (SMS)?
May 2, 2006 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Some random loser is sending lewd text messages to my girlfriend's mobile telephone. I have his first name and mobile number only. What can I legally do to stop him texting her again?

Yes, she'll be changing her number over. We've already discussed that. But I'm more thinking along the lines of contacting his service provider. Is that possible? And how? Anyway, what else might I be able to do to track down this moron? Should I call the police? What could they do though? Um, both parties are in Australia. Angry.
posted by sjvilla79 to Technology (17 answers total)
posted by junkbox at 2:07 PM on May 2, 2006

Change the number. It's is 100% guaranteed to work if the number remains in trusted hands. Is keeping the number more important?
posted by zek at 2:39 PM on May 2, 2006

Sorry, stupid reply. I'm flagging my own post. Duh!
posted by zek at 2:39 PM on May 2, 2006

In the US, that's absolutely harassment (especially since it's lewd bits) and you can get the police involved. I'm not sure what the situation is there, but it can't hurt to try. The difference between this one and the other thread linked by junbox is that you have the digits of this guy.
posted by symphonik at 2:53 PM on May 2, 2006

Call her phone company, tell them to block the guys number from texting her.
posted by atrazine at 3:07 PM on May 2, 2006

The same thing happened to me and I ended up changing 'phone numbers. Telstra said that they couldn't (wouldn't?) block a specific number and that changing the number was the only thing that could be done.

I also went to the police but they weren't particularly helpful. In the end, they rang the guy and asked him to stop but only after I complained to the supervisor of the guy on duty who didn't want to help (and who was rude and offhand about it).

I remember finding out the suburb that the guy was living in, but I can't remember whether it was Telstra or the police that told me.

Hope it sorts itself out - it's a pretty crappy thing to be on the receiving end of!
posted by prettypretty at 4:24 PM on May 2, 2006

Since we don't know all the circumstances, is it maybe possible that he thinks he is texting someone else? Perhaps you could call and say, in your manliest voice, something like `Why do you keep texting me?'.

A friend had a habit of sending funny / risque texts to his friends. It was always funny for us, but somehow he ended up with what he thought was my number, but was in fact a very old number I had had.

Finally some guy called up and said `Who are you, and why are you sending these messages to my girlfriend?'. He was, of course, mortified.
posted by tomble at 4:46 PM on May 2, 2006

We'll be changing the number. You're correct, prettypretty, in saying that Telstra won't do anything. What a joke. I don't think I'll bother with the police now either. Thanks though.
posted by sjvilla79 at 4:48 PM on May 2, 2006

It's sorted. The number has been changed. Still wouldn't mind getting some vengeance on this tool though.
posted by sjvilla79 at 4:59 PM on May 2, 2006

As much as this sound shitty it is possible that the lewd text messages aren't completely unwanted, or at least weren't unwanted when they started.

In my limited experience, talking to the phone company won't help. Bosh him over the head or ignore it.
posted by toby\flat2 at 8:05 PM on May 2, 2006

Text messages can be sent ananymously over the internet through most providers. They don't really advertise this, but some searching will usually turn up the web-form that does it. There is no record, other than a probably useless dynamic ip, of who sent these.
posted by IronLizard at 8:50 PM on May 2, 2006

Errr, anonymously.
posted by IronLizard at 8:52 PM on May 2, 2006

I had a girlfriend who was getting calls on her cell at all hours, mostly in the middle of the night. The strategy I employed was basically to bluff and convince the perp that it was no longer worth the risk to make his phone calls. So one night I answered her phone when he called and had prepared little speech for him:

"I don't know who you are, but you know and I know that you are conducting a form of harassment. Further we have your telephone number and the telephone records that indicate the number of calls you’ve made and the times at which you have called. If you call this number again we are going to take this information to the police and file charges. I hope not to hear from you again.”

Never heard from him again. But if they don't back down, even if you take the phone records to the police you're not likely to have much luck. I just got lucky that he folded on my bluff.

On preview: The number has already been changed. Oh well. *Shrug*
posted by meditative_zebra at 9:44 PM on May 2, 2006

On preview: The number has already been changed. Oh well. *Shrug*

Yes, but I'd still like to do evil stuff to his number. Maybe.
posted by sjvilla79 at 10:08 PM on May 2, 2006

This is probably wrong of me to mention, but signing up for telemarketing calls all over the web might be sufficiently annoying (and on a cell, costly).
posted by IronLizard at 10:18 PM on May 2, 2006

Are you sure he's not mistaken as to whose number it is? I once got a whole stream of dodgy text messages to my mobile. When I texted back that they had the wrong number they thought I was their friend taking the piss, and I got a whole lot more texts, even more dodgy. I called them directly and sorted it out - and even that took a while because they were at a party and pretty sozzled, and they thought I was their friend getting some stranger to ring up for her as a joke. So it took a while to convince them. But I never heard from them again.

On the other hand, if the messages are scary or really vile, or it's obvious he is actually trying to make her feel uncomfortable, then disregard this. It would just be sad for someone to have vengeance laid down on them for making a genuine (if stupid) mistake.
posted by andraste at 12:05 AM on May 3, 2006

Ironlizard: in Australia, it's free to receive calls (and texts) on your mobile. So far as I know, paying to receive calls is strictly a US thing. Other differences are that an Australian mobile number is a completely different format to an Aus landline - mobiles are 11 digits, and normal numbers are 8 (with an optional 2 digit area code for long distance).
posted by jacalata at 5:50 AM on May 3, 2006

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