FCC cracks down on text message spam


The FCC is cracking down on text message spam with new rules for telcos, citing a surge in consumer complaints in recent years related to unwanted robotic texts.

The new rules require mobile operators to block text messages from suspicious sources, including phone numbers that appear to be “invalid, unassigned or unused.” Carriers will also be required to block text messages coming from phone numbers that claim to never send text messages or that the government has identified as numbers not used for text messages, the FCC said in a statement.

The move reflects a similar effort by the US government. turn off illegal robot calls, leading to at least one telephone provider was completely cut off from the US telephone network. Robotic call monitoring services say efforts have been largely successful in reducing automated calls. But in recent years, an explosion of spam and fraudulent text messages has apparently taken their place, leading to more than 18,000 consumer complaints to the FCC last year.

The FCC is considering additional rules that could, among other things, apply Do Not Call registry protection to text messages for the first time. The FCC said it is also considering making it harder for marketers to use one consumer’s consent to flood that user with calls and texts from multiple sources and numbers.

The FCC has said that unwanted or fraudulent robotexts can pose an even greater risk to consumers than unwanted bot calls because, unlike phone calls, text messages can contain malicious links that can infect a smart device with dangerous software.

“Scammers have discovered that sending us messages about a package you never ordered or a payment that never went through, along with a link to a dubious website, is a quick and easy way to trick us into interacting with our devices and becoming a victim of fraud. . FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworsel said in a statement.

The FCC voted to adopt the new rules by unanimous decision with a score of 4:0.