The FCC is passing new rules that will require carriers to start blocking scam texts, here’s how

The Federal Communication Commission today announced its first set of rules designed to reduce the number of scam texts Americans receive. The move will require providers to block texts from three types of numbers, plus one more measure, which will be a start to tackle the fast-growing problem.

The FCC announced the news in a press release (via The Verge) titled “FCC Adopts Its First Rules Focusing on Scam Texting.”

In its opening, the release highlights that complaints about scams have grown by more than 500% from 2015 to 2022, and that robo/scam texts are more of a threat to consumers than scam calls:

“unlike robocalls, scam texts are difficult to ignore or hang up on and are almost always read by the recipient – often immediately. Additionally, robotexts can promote links to phishing websites or websites that can install malware on a consumer’s phone.”

Today’s new rulemaking requires carriers to block text messages that “appear to come from phone numbers that are unlikely to transmit text messages.”

The FCC explains that it will include “invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers. It also includes numbers that the subscriber of the number has self-identified as never texting, and numbers that government agencies and other well-known entities identify as not used for texting.”

Another helpful measure would also “require each mobile wireless network provider to establish a point of contact for text senders, or require providers to require their aggregator partners or blocking contractors to establish such a point of contact that senders can use to query blocked texts.”

The FCC also asked for public feedback “on additional proposals to require providers to block texts from devices the FCC has cited as illegal robocalls.”

In addition, the FCC action says:

proposes to clarify that the Do-No-Call Registry protection – that is, prohibiting marketing messages to registered numbers – applies to text messages and closes the lead generator loophole that allows companies to use a single consumer consent to deliver robocalls and text messages from multiple—perhaps thousands—of marketers on topics that may not have been what the consumer had in mind. The Commission will also take additional public comments on text authentication measures and other proposals to continue to combat illegal scam bots.

Apple currently offers a “Delete and report spam” button in its Messages app, which reports the details to Apple as well as your carrier.

However, the feature appears to be most effective in reducing additional scam messages from the same number. Often, future robot texts come from a new number. So hopefully the new operator requirements will start to cut down on that aspect of the problem.

The FCC also reminds consumers, “Do not interact in any way with suspicious texts, click on suspicious links, or provide any information via text or website.” And you can also lodge complaints about scam texts with its Consumer Complaints Centre.

What do you think? Are you seeing more and more scam texts? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Report scam texts on iPhone

FTC: We use income generating auto affiliate links. More.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: