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Phones in Florida, California and Texas get the most spam


Cloudmark’s map of the top-spammed area codes.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect area code for Miami.

Dear residents of Fort Lauderdale: We feel for you.

The Florida city is home to the nation’s most-spammed area code — 954 — according to a private-sector study of texted spam. Los Angeles’ 310 area code is next, followed by Dallas’ 214. Two Miami area codes — 786 and 305 — ranked fourth and fifth for most-spammed.

Targeting specific area codes apparently delivers a better return-on-investment for spammers, messaging-security software maker Cloudmark wrote in a blogpost announcing the study. And one of those spammers has been incredibly active in South Florida:

Comprising roughly 84% of South Florida’s August SMS spam are “We Buy Junk Car” texts that residents of the area are all too familiar with. The messages have been flooding mobile phones for over a year now. The senders, looking to tow off junk vehicles, are relatively locked in to their immediate area. After a certain distance, potential leads are no longer economically viable due to the cost of towing. So, the spammers are targeting only these accessible areas, hoping to squeeze out every last possible lead.

Much of the spam comes in the form of phishing attacks, whereby spammers masquerade as a business (especially a local one) to ensnare unsuspecting victims in a scam.

Wisconsin last year required those who send send commercial text messages to register with the state and Washington state sued an alleged Florida spammer for violating federal and state laws.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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