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How to obtain printed copies of text messages sent to & from a cell phone

People request text messages for all sorts of reasons, but getting them from your handset to your PC can be tricky. This is why many phone companies provide printed copies of your text (SMS) messages. These messages can be retrieved in many different ways, and although they can be provided, they are not always easy to come by.

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  1. Contact your wireless provider. Have your account details ready to give to the customer service agent. These details should include your cell phone number, name, full address, date of birth and your security passcode. Ask your wireless provider to provide you with a printed copy of your text messages. They may also give you the option to have these text messages sent to you by fax.

  2. Request a subpoena. Sometimes your wireless provider will not provide any copies of your text messages without a subpoena. Contact your clerk of courts and explain why you need a copy of your text messages (e.g. to investigate something) to obtain the subpoena. They may or may not grant this request based on the reason you give them for the subpoena. If this is the case, you can contact an attorney who may also be able to issue the subpoena.

  3. Go online. Your wireless provider may have an option on its website to register your account. Once you register your account, navigate to the option that allows you to view your calling and text information. Certain sites only allow you to see the number that you send a text to or received a text from along with the time and date. You can either print the page by going to file at the top left hand corner and selecting print or by doing a screen shot of the page by clicking control and the print screen button.

  4. Buy a SIM card recovery stick. Remove the SIM card from the back of your phone and insert it into the SIM card slot on the recovery stick. Insert the USB stick into the port on your desktop tower or the side of your laptop. Follow the onscreen prompts to run the program and open your text message folder. From here you can print the screen.

  5. Forward your text message to an e-mail address. If you have a Internet-enabled phone, you can forward your text messages to an e-mail address and print them from there.

  6. Warning

    Only law enforcement agents or legal representatives can request copies of text messages that do not belong to you as stated in the Legal Code: Title 18,2703. They will only be able to legally request text messages going back 180 days or less.

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About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.

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