Google Tackles Text Spam On Android With Verified SMS Feature, Here's How To Enable It

Google Verified SMS for Android
Google has been on a mission to improve the texting experience on Android. Following up on its Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol, which is supposed to bring functionality akin to what's available on iMessages on iOS devices, Google is rolling out a Verified SMS feature to combat the rising annoyance of text spam.

You may have noticed that you receive more unsolicited text messages these days than in years past. It's a tough situation, because not every text message from a non-contact is nefarious, or spam. For example, if you have two-factor authentication enabled for a particular service, such as your bank, you'll receive a text when trying to log into your account to verify your identity.

That's fair game, but SMS messages alerting you to sales and special offers that you never signed up for are a growing problem. In addition, scammers can leverage our trust in two-factor authentication to carry out phishing scams, since many of the verification codes are sent from seemingly random numbers. This is where Verified SMS comes into play.

"Verified SMS for Messages, rolling out today in a number of countries, will help you confirm the true identity of the business that’s texting you. The feature works by verifying, on a per-message basis, that content is sent by a specific business. When a message is verified—which is done without sending your messages to Google—you’ll see the business name and logo as well as a verification badge in the message thread," Google explains.

This requires participation from companies, so it will take some time for this to be truly useful on a widespread basis. That said, a few brands have already signed up, including 1-800-Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, Payback, and So-Fi. Google says more businesses are signing up every day to use Verified SMS.

How To Enable Verified SMS In Android To Protect Against Text Spam And Phising

Google is going with a staggered roll out of this potentially handy feature. It is available right now in nine countries, including the United States, India, Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Philippines, Spain, and Canada. More will be added soon.

To enable it, follow these steps...
  • Fire up the Messages app on your Android phone
  • Go into Settings (tap the three-dot menu)
  • Tap on Verified SMS
  • Enable Verify business message sender
Once enabled, you can be better protected against scams and spam, and can also help Google improve detection.

"In addition to verifying the businesses sending you messages, we are working on protecting you from spam in Messages. With Spam protection for Messages, we warn you of suspected spam and unsafe websites we’ve detected," Google says.

When Google thinks you're being hit with a spam message, it will post a warning in Messages. You can then tap on Report not spam or Report spam, which will help Google improve its spam detection model.