The FCC has proposed rules to combat malicious robotext campaigns. The bureau says that it is accepting public comment on ways to apply caller ID authentication standards to text messaging and to require providers to find and actively block illegal texts before they are seen by consumers.

The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) proposes rules that would require that mobile wireless providers block texts at the network level that appear to be “from invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers, and numbers on a Do-Not-Originate (DNO) list.” The NPR seeks input on enhanced education and other actions that the commission might take.

The FCC’s Robocall Response Team has issued a consumer alert on the growing problem of scam robotexts. There are more complaints about the practice in which scammers seek information, to defraud consumers and/or sell consumers numbers.

“The American people are fed up with scam texts, and we need to use every tool we have to do something about it,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “Recently, scam text messaging has become a growing threat to consumers’ wallets and privacy.  More can be done to address this growing problem and today we are formally starting an effort to take a serious, comprehensive, and fresh look at our policies for fighting unwanted robotexts.”

The press release offered consumer tips on avoiding illegal texts:

  • Do not respond to suspicious texts, even if the message requests that you “text STOP” to end messages.
  • Do not click on any links.
  • Do not provide any information via text or website.
  • File a complaint.
  • Forward unwanted texts to SPAM (7726).
  • Delete all suspicious texts.
  • Update your smart device OS and security apps.
  • Consider installing anti-malware software.
  • Review companies’ policies regarding opting out of text alerts and selling/sharing your information.
  • Review text blocking tools in your mobile phone settings, available third-party apps, and your mobile phone carrier’s offerings.

The initiative goes back to last October. At that point, Rosenworcel shared a proposed rulemaking with colleagues that had the potential to lead to a rulemaking that would require mobile carriers to block illegal robotexts. At that point, the FCC said that it had received about 14,000 consumer complaints about the practice. This was an increase of almost 146% compared to 2019.

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