Q: I heard you can send an email to a mobile phone which will appear as a text message if you know the service provider. Are there any security risks? Is it different from a regular email? I’d love to use this to communicate with my clients.
A: Thanks for asking. It does work and certainly checks boxes for being able to keep up with the client’s communication and storing the email with the client record. There are a few drawbacks:
- Any signature blocks/disclaimers (especially those with embedded images) that aren’t removed before sending the message make for some garbled text messages and add many characters to the message (see 4 and 5)
- The caller ID for the recipient is not readily recognizable
- Depending on the carrier any subject line may or may not carry over into the message body, or the only thing that gets sent is the subject line
- The message may get cut off, depending on how many characters the carrier allows in a message or
- Long messages are converted to MMS (usually over 160 characters) in which case not everyone can receive an MMS message, depending on their plan. Some providers have a separate email addresses to send MMS messages like [###-###-####@mms.att.net].
- From a security perspective, it is really no different than sending an unsecured (not encrypted) email to a client. Of course, if you need to secure the message you would probably want to use Signal or get an email encryption mechanism. Text messages are easily discoverable, but then again so are emails if they are requested.
There are lots of solutions for texting with clients. They do cost money but may be more useful and elegant.