SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — If you have a cell phone, you've probably received a spam text.
While they are annoying, experts say the texts can also lead to bigger problems.
While filters for spam emails are common, filters for spam text messages are not.
That means vulgar texts can pop up at any time, on any phone - including phones that belong to children.
Several KFMB viewers recently reported getting a very graphic spam message.
"At the end of the day, it's a security issue," said Kevin Popovic, the director of the Idea Lab at SDSU.
He says never click on any associated links in the texts, because they could install malware on your phone or get you to share personal information that can be sold to marketers or identity thieves.
"Everything we've learned about being cautious on email and the internet should be transferred over to your mobile device," said Popovic.
According to Business Week, the areas that see the highest number of spam texts are Southern California, New York and Florida.
A recent spam message was linked to several different phone numbers and News 8 called all of them.
Each one had the same automated message.
The link the message says to click on originated overseas.
So, what can phone-owners do about blocking these messages?
Popovic says to report them to your cell phone provider and/or file a complaint with the FTC.
"Some people might say, "I'm one person, what am I gonna do?' but it's those many people that report those messages to the FTC that helps identify those bad players in this market," said Popovic.
You can also forward spam texts to the number 7726. It's a free service for most cell phone providers.
There are also apps you can download that will help filter out spam messages – some are free and some require a payment.