INDIANAPOLIS — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced today its first ever rules targeting the increasing problem of scam texts.
It’s a problem WRTV Investigates has been tracking for years.
Scammers pose as the government and well-known businesses like Amazon and Netflix, and use links in texts as bait so they can steal your identity or your money.
The FCC’s new rules announced it will require mobile service providers to block certain robotext messages that are highly likely to be illegal.
The FCC reports a more than 500% increase in complaints about text message scams in recent years.
From 2015 to 2022, robotext complaints rose from around 3,300 to 18,900 per year.
“Robotexts pose a unique threat to consumers: unlike robocalls, scam text messages are hard to ignore or hang-up on and are nearly always read by the recipient, often immediately,” the FCC said in its announcement. “In addition, robotexts can promote links to phishing websites or websites that can install malware on a consumer’s phone.”
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The rules adopted Thursday requires blocking of text messages that appear to come from phone numbers that are unlikely to transmit text messages including invalid or unused numbers.
A second rule will require each mobile wireless provider to establish a point of contact for text senders, or have providers require their aggregator partners or blocking contractors to establish such a point of contact, which senders can use to inquire about blocked texts.
The FCC says these new blocking rules for mobile carriers to actively protect consumers.
The FCC is also seeking public comment on further proposals to require providers to block texts from entities the FCC has cited as illegal robotexters.
You can file a complaint with the FCC here.
How To Stop Phishing Texts
- Do not click the links or engage with the scammers
- When in doubt, delete the message
- Contact your wireless provider and ask them for help in stopping unwanted messages and calls
- Purchase an app like Robokiller or Norombo
- Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically
- Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password
CTIA, an organization representing the wireless industry suggests forwarding phishing texts to your provider at 7726 or “SPAM.”