An estimated 76% of Russian mobile phone owners are exposed to mobile spam, says a report from ESET, an international IT security company.

Last month the company conducted a poll of members of its official communities on VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, Russia’s two leading social networks, and of ESET Club participants. An estimated 65% of respondents indicated that they were receiving SMS spam “on a regular basis.” Almost 2% said they had received unauthorized advertising calls, while another 9% had been targeted by both SMS and voice spammers.

Most culprits had fished for phone numbers in a variety of questionnaires people complete in stores or restaurants, as well as on social networks and online dating/matchmaking sites.

Mobile operators attempt to blacklist what they believe to be “unreliable” numbers and companies, but these tactics do not seem to deter spammers, ESET’s Elena Tol said in a comment on the most recent study. Only 24% of the more than 800 respondents were lucky enough to have never been spammed.

Aware of the acute problem, the Russian Government first seriously pondered criminalizing SMS spammers more than a year ago. Just last week, the Cabinet intended to ask Parliament to consider outlawing SMS spam, but this action has not yet been undertaken.

Update March 6, 2014

Tele2, an alternative mobile operator, announced that the number of complaints about junk and unwanted text messages dropped by 45% between October 2013 and February 2014 as a result of an anti-spam protection program.