How to Retrieve Text Messages for a Police Report

Updated March 20, 2017

Test messaging is an increasingly common feature of cellphone use. Although it can be used for positive purposes, it also can be used to your detriment. For example, someone may be harassing you by sending a large amount of unwanted text messages to your phone. When filing a police report about harassment or other problems, you likely need copies of the text messages. Fortunately, text message contents and records can be obtained from your device or your mobile provider.

Call your mobile provider to request copies of the text messages and text message records. Call the provider within three days of receiving the messages, as some mobile providers get rid of the content from their servers after a period of time. Other providers may not store message contents on their servers at all. Dial "611" to reach your customer service agent. Tell the agent that you are filing a police report and that copies of the messages are necessary to complete the filing.

Forward text messages to your personal e-mail address and print them from your computer. Windows Mobile users press "Start," "Messaging" and "Text/Multimedia." Click on the offending message and select "Menu," "Reply" and then "Forward." Enter your e-mail address in to "To:" field and press "Send." Print the messages that you forwarded by selecting "File," "Print" and "OK" on your computer. Make sure your printer is powered on and connected.

Print text message records from your mobile provider's website. Most providers, such as T-Mobile, allow you to view your current usage, along with the phone numbers and times of all messages sent and received through your account. Log in to your mobile provider's website and locate the option for viewing your text message usage. Print the records by clicking "File" and "Print." Make sure your printer is powered on and connected.

Contact an attorney to subpoena your mobile provider, if necessary (see Resources). If you are unable to get the messages by any other means, you will need to subpoena those records from the company. An attorney will give you the forms required to file the subpoena, along with filing instructions.

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About the Author

Nicholas Smith has written political articles for, "The Daily Californian" and other publications since 2004. He is a former commissioner with the city of Berkeley, Calif. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California-Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law.