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18 Mar, 2023
2 min time to read

The initial set of regulations aimed at decreasing the frequency of fraudulent text messages received by Americans was declared by the Federal Communication Commission.

Recently, the FCC has adopted new rules to address the growing problem of scam texting. The new regulations require carriers to take measures to block text messages from certain types of numbers, which will help to prevent consumers from falling victim to fraudulent schemes. In a press release titled "FCC Adopts Its First Rules Focused on Scam Texting," the agency highlights the significant increase in complaints about scam texts over the past several years. Specifically, complaints have grown by more than 500% from 2015 to 2022, indicating the severity of the issue.

The press release emphasizes that scam texts are more dangerous than scam calls because they are harder to ignore and are almost always read by the recipient, often immediately. Furthermore, these texts can promote links to phishing websites or sites that can install malware on a consumer's phone. As such, the new rules will require carriers to block text messages that appear to come from numbers that are unlikely to transmit texts, including invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers, as well as numbers identified by subscribers, government agencies, and other entities as not used for texting.

In addition to blocking these types of messages, the FCC's new rules require each mobile wireless provider to establish a point of contact for text senders, enabling them to inquire about blocked texts. This measure aims to increase transparency and accountability on the part of carriers, making it easier for consumers to report fraudulent activity and get help.

The FCC also seeks public feedback on further proposals to combat illegal robotexters, including measures to require providers to block texts from entities the FCC has cited as illegal robotexters. Additionally, the agency clarifies that Do-Not-Call Registry protections, which prohibit marketing messages to registered numbers, apply to text messaging, and will close the lead generator loophole that allows companies to use a single consumer consent to deliver robocalls and text messages from multiple marketers on subjects that may not be what the consumer had in mind.

Apple currently offers a "Delete and Report Junk" button in its Messages app, which reports details to Apple as well as the carrier. However, this feature seems to be most effective at reducing further scam messages from the same number. Often, future robotexts come from a new number. The new carrier requirements are expected to cut down on this aspect of the issue.