SMS marketing is a real thing but it’s only useful when you opt-in to receive promotional alerts from a company. For spam messages that seem to come out of nowhere and offer you great deals on useless stuff, it’s a nuisance. Most spam messages can be blocked easily with the block feature on iOS. This feature relies on the phone number of the sender to work. Some message simply do not have a number to go with the name. That said, you can still block an SMS with a name but no number. There’s a little trick to it that’s surprisingly simple.
Block SMS with a name but no number
First, try blocking it the traditional way. If the block option simply flickers but the number isn’t blocked, you need to call it. Open the Messages app and go to the spam message thread. Tap its name at the very top and from the little slide out menu that opens, tap the Call/Audio button. This will initiate a call to the number, thus revealing it.
The call won’t go through but regardless, once your iPhone initiates the call, cancel it. Open the Phone app and go to the Recents tab to view your call log. The number for the spam SMS will be listed there. Tap the little ‘i’ button to go to its details page. Scroll down and tap the Block this Caller option. This time, the number will be blocked and you will no longer receive spam from it.
In case you’re using an Android phone and looking for a solution to this same problem, this fix is worth trying. Android also has a call/contact/number blocking feature. If it’s unable to block a sender because their number is hidden, then it’s really only suffering from the same constraint as iOS. Try calling the number. It is highly unlikely that the call will go through however, check in your phone app to see if it can be blocked from the call log.
This sort of advertising i.e., one where you don’t opt-in and the sender can hide their number isn’t just annoying but can also result in you being scammed. There’s no way for a user to identify whether the sender is actually who they claim to be. For users who are likely to believe messages like this with no investigation, they pose an even bigger risk. It’s odd that this sort of advertising isn’t illegal.
In the event that you still get messages from the same sender on iOS, you can use Do not disturb as a last ditch effort to silence the new message alerts for just that sender.