Under new regulations for telecom firms, the Federal Communications Commission is taking action against spammy text messages in response to an increase in consumer complaints in recent years related to unsolicited robotexts.
According to the new regulations, phone companies must block text messages coming from shady sources, including numbers that seem to be "invalid, unallocated, or underused." FCC claims that carriers will also be required to block text messages from phone numbers that declare they never text or that have been designated by the government as non-texting numbers.
The action is reminiscent of a previous US government initiative to stop unlawful robocalls, which resulted in the complete shut down of at least one phone company from the US telephone network. According to robocall tracking firms, the endeavor has been successful in considerably lowering the number of robocalls. Yet, it seems as though an upsurge in spam and scam text messages has taken its place in recent years, as more than 18,000 consumer complaints were filed with the FCC last year.
The FCC is considering new rules that might, among other things, for the first time extend “Do Not Call” registry safeguards to text messages. The FCC stated that it is also thinking about making it more difficult for advertisers to exploit a single consumer’s permission to bombard that user with calls and texts from several sources and numbers.
According to the FCC, unwanted or fraudulent robotexts may put consumers at even greater risk than unwanted robocalls because, unlike phone calls, text messages may contain malicious links that might infect a smart device with harmful software.
In a statement, the FCC Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel said: “Scam artists have found that sending us messages about a package you never ordered or a payment that never went through along with a link to a shady website is a quick and easy way to get us to engage on our devices and fall prey to fraud.”
This new decision has been unanimously adopted following a 4-0 vote.
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