10DLC Forbidden Message Categories for SMS and MMS in the US and Canada

The following messaging use cases are not allowed on SMS or MMS in the United States or Canada. The information below applies to long code messaging with the rollout of the new A2P 10DLC system, in addition to short code and Toll-Free messaging. Lastly, we have also provided some suggested alternatives for conducting certain forbidden use cases.

Please note, certain types of message content may be subject to restrictions, even when your use case is not forbidden. For example, use of shared public URL shorteners is not allowed by US carriers and will result in filtering.




High-risk financial services

“Third-party” means originating from any party other than the one which will service the loan.

Third-party lead generation services

“Third-party” means originating from any party other than the one which will service the loan.

Debt collection or forgiveness

“Third-party” means originating from any party other than the one who is owed the debt. For example, a hospital could send messages regarding bills for its own patients, assuming they provided opt-in to receive that messaging.

Third-party debt collectors may send transactional messages that consumers have directly opted in to; however, they cannot use SMS as a channel to collect a debt.

“Get rich quick” schemes

This is different from outreach about employment as a result of compliant opt-in practices, messages from brokerages to their members, investment news alerts, or other investment-related messages.

Illegal substances/articles

Cannabis is federally illegal in the United States. Cannabis businesses will not be permitted to use SMS/MMS messaging in the US, regardless of message content.

CBD is federally legal, but is subject to varying legal restrictions across US states, so US carriers do not permit messaging related to CBD.

Fireworks are a regulated product and US and CA carriers do not permit messaging related to fireworks.

Prescription drugs

Offers for drugs that cannot be sold over-the-counter in the US/Canada are forbidden.


Gambling traffic is prohibited in the US and Canada on all number types (Toll Free, Short Code, Long Code).

"S.H.A.F.T." use cases

While tobacco and alcohol traffic is prohibited on Toll Free, it is allowed on Short Code, or Long Code, as long as proper age gating procedures are in place.

Firearms and vaping-related traffic is prohibited.

My use case is listed as forbidden. What can I do?

If your use case is listed above as forbidden for SMS and MMS messaging in the US, you may be able to use another Shape product to reach your recipients.

Shape emailing is an option for many of the above use cases. For example, cannabis- or CBD-related messaging may be conducted via email, as long as you have proper age gating in place and are sending toward recipients in a locale where the substance is legal.