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I receive a lot of SMS/Message Scams (perhaps 3 or 4 per day). I assume it's related to something like the flubot virus. I like turning the option under settings - notifications messages - customize notifications - unknown senders to off. This stops the phone notifying me when I receive sms from unknown senders.

I also have an Apple Watch Series 2 which is set to mirror iphone notifications for messages. But on the Apple Watch I still receive these notifications.

How can I stop receiving notifications from unknown senders on the Apple Watch?

I was also wondering whether this was an issue specific to Series 2 given that it seemingly doesn't get software updates anymore. Ideally I don't want to turn off notifications from messages in general, as getting important sms on the Watch is one of the most important features for me.

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As another person receiving spam from the Flubot scams, I tried looking into this. There are no easy switches unfortunately, but there are many messy workarounds:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/250140044

There are other tips that don't work here, such as the option to Filter Unknown Senders, which seems to only work for iMessage, which Flubot doesn't use most of the time. The Silence Unknown Callers option does not work for this case, since Flubot is primarily a text-based scam, not calls.

And also blocking individual numbers, but that doesn't work here either, since Flubot sends from hundreds (thousands?) of different numbers.

There's essentially no real solution for now. You may have also come across this:

https://bgr.com/tech/ios-15-features-sms-spam-filter-brazil-only/

but that is only available on Brazil.

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One work-around is as follows:

  • Disable SMS notifications on the watch
  • Disable SMS notifications on the phone from unknonw senders: settings - notifications messages - customize notifications - unknown senders to off
  • Tell the really important people (e.g., partner, kids, etc.) who need to reliably contact you using real-time message notifications on the watch to use a different messaging program (e.g., Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.)

The result is that you never get spam message notifications on your watch. The people who really need to be able to message you on your watch, can do so (by using other apps). You still get message notifications on your phone from people in your contacts list. Every now and again you can check the unknown senders list in the Messages App to see if there is anything that is not a scam.

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