The Federal Communications Commission has announced new rules aimed at tackling the growing issue of spam text messages. According to the FCC, the new rules require mobile service providers to block certain robotext messages that are highly likely to be illegal. The commission claims that spam text messages have increased by 500% since 2015, with robotext complaints rising from around 3,300 to 18,900 per year between 2015 and 2022.
Spam text messages are a unique threat to consumers because they are hard to ignore or hang up on and are almost always read by the recipient. Additionally, robotexts can promote links to phishing websites or websites that can install malware on a consumer’s phone. The new order requires companies to block texts from phone numbers that are unlikely to transmit text messages. The FCC has also mandated that each mobile provider or their partners and contractors establish a point of contact for text senders to inquire about blocked texts.
This move comes after the FCC took similar action on robocall scams in 2022, ordering phone companies to block any traffic marketing auto warranties from a specific operation. If phone companies fail to cut off the robocalls from this specific group entirely, they must regularly report to the FCC about how they are mitigating the traffic. The FCC recommends that consumers do not interact with suspicious texts, click on suspicious links, or provide any information via text or website. Any suspicious texts should be deleted, and consumers should file a complaint with the FCC and forward unwanted texts to SPAM (7726).