The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to crack down on the flood of robotexts that have been showing up on people’s phones.
Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel shared proposed rulemaking with colleagues on Monday that would require mobile carriers to block illegal text messages.
In a statement, the FCC said it received around 14,000 complaints from consumers in 2020 about unwanted text messages, a 146% jump from the year before. So far this year, the FCC has received nearly 10,000 similar complaints from consumers.
The messages included a message that thanked users for paying their monthly bill and offered them a “little something” or “little freebie” for doing so. The scam texts also included a link that one user said leads to a website offering Apple Airpods for answering a “few quick questions.”
The FCC said RoboKiller, a spam blocking app, reported recently that 7.4 billion spam texts were sent in March of this year.
“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 a statement. “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.”
The agency’s proposed move to tackle robotexts comes after months of it focusing on robocalls. In March, the FCC fined two Texas-based telemarkerters $225 million who used robocalls to offer fake health insurance plans.
Meanwhile, in June the FCC set a deadline for providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN technology on their networks. The technology allows phone companies to verify caller ID information and a caller’s phone number. The FCC described the technology as a way for caller IDs to be “signed” as legitimate by originating providers and validated by others before they reach a customer.
Around the same time, the FCC announced that it had reached an agreement with its Australian counterpart to work together to fight robocalls.
Read more about the FCC
|Gigi Sohn calls Republican accusations against her a big telecom-led effort to keep the FCC deadlocked|
|FCC says 10 million homes have now signed up for affordable internet subsidy|
|ISPs won’t quit trying to derail California’s ‘gold standard’ net neutrality law|
|FCC agrees to crack down on ‘sweetheart deals’ that restrict broadband choice in apartments, condos|
|Sign up to receive the Daily Dot’s Internet Insider newsletter for urgent news from the frontline of online.|