FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has shared a proposed rulemaking with colleagues that could lead to a requirement that mobile carriers block illegal robotexts.

The proposed initiative is a follow up to the FCC’s ongoing work against illegal robocalls. The problem is growing. The press release says that last year the FCC received about 14,000 consumer complaints about robotexts. That was an increase of almost 146% over 2019. So far this year, the FCC has received more than 9,800 such complaints. Another indicator of the severity of the problem is a RoboKiller report that 7.4 billion spam texts were sent in March alone.

The rulemaking proposal, which will be voted upon by the full FCC, would look at approaches such as network-level blocking and the application of call authentication standards to combat the problem.

“In a world where so many of us rely heavily on texting to stay connected with our friends and family, ensuring the integrity of this communication is vitally important,” Rosenworcel said in the release. “We’ve seen a rise in scammers trying to take advantage of our trust of text messages by sending bogus robotexts that try to trick consumers to share sensitive information or click on malicious links. It’s time we take steps to confront this latest wave of fraud and identify how mobile carriers can block these automated messages before they have the opportunity to cause any harm.”

An August RoboKiller report found that the initiative against robocalls was working while robotexts were growing.

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