Google Messages users are getting hit with RCS spam texts

Google Messages RCS chatting on a Pixel 4a.
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Messages users are receiving random texts with strings of characters, appearing as encrypted content.
  • Initially reported two years ago, the issue has resurfaced with many users now getting messages from outside their area code.
  • All these messages include a link to Google’s support page for troubleshooting decryption issues.

Google Messages users are reportedly getting random gibberish texts that contain strings of characters and seem to show up as encrypted content.

Google Messages provides default end-to-end encryption, ensuring only the intended recipient can read the messages. However, a Reddit post spotted by Android Police shows that people are receiving RCS messages that look like spam.

These messages mostly look like gibberish, with random letters and numbers in no particular order. They likely appear this way because they couldn't be properly encrypted.

gibberish text on Google Messages

(Image credit: Android Police)

The original post in the thread is from two years ago, but it's recently gained a lot of new replies. According to these recent responses, many users are getting messages from outside their area code. That said, our own Derrek Lee confirms he received a similar gibberish message, but it came from within his own area code.

All the messages include the same legitimate link to Google’s support page on troubleshooting issues with decrypting encrypted messages.

For those who might not know, Google Messages uses Rich Communication Services (RCS). It's a safer texting method than SMS and MMS. Plus, RCS offers end-to-end encryption for extra privacy.

Something seems to have gone wrong because users are now getting spam-like messages. To clear things up, there's a difference between the original issue in that thread and what's happening now. The original post was about a user who got a message from a contact that couldn't be decrypted. When the contact resent it, everything worked fine.

This time, the messages are coming from unknown senders, and it doesn't seem to be an isolated case. The texts are arriving from various countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Cameroon, Tanzania, and more, according to the report.

At the moment, there's not much information on where these posts are coming from, but Android Police believes it might be a rogue spambot. The outlet says this spambot is trying to find and collect active numbers through read receipts, and the gibberish messages we're seeing might be a glitch.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.

  • mustang7757
    Yeah got a couple of them lately
  • rvbfan
    I've been lucky. Between my carriers spam filtering and Google's, I don't remember the last time I received any.
    Also remember that spam filtering is partisapitory. If you receive it you should mark it as such.
  • notforhire
    I'm getting one every 4 or 5 days or so...sent directly to spam. selling/phishing.
  • SeeBeeEss
    I receive gibberish texts all of the time. Unfortunately, they're from people I know. 😉