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March 18, 2023

New FCC rules require cell phone carriers to block scam text messages sent to consumers

From 2015 to 2022 robotext complaints have increased from around 3,300 to 18,900

Government Scams
Scam text rules Adem Ay/

The FCC established new rules that would require cell phone carriers to block certain scam text messages. Since 2015 the amount of scam text message complaints has increased by 500%.

As cell phones have become integral to people's everyday lives, schemers and scammers have adjusted to the times, transitioning from mail scams to attempting fraud through phone calls and text messaging.

The federal government is stepping in to stop the illegal messages.

The Federal Communications Commission has established new rules requiring cell phone carriers to block specific robotext messages. 

Since 2015 the number of scam text messages complaints has increased by 500 %. The FCC estimates complaints about scammer text rose from around 3,300 to 18,900 over the last seven years. 

Under the new rules, mobile carriers must block text from phone numbers unlikely to transmit text messages. 

Robotext usually is accompanied by links to phishing websites that can steal information or install malware on devices. 

Under a second rule, mobile carriers would be required to establish a phone number where consumers can reach out to ask about blocked text messages. 

The FCC also aims to update Do-Not-Call Registry protections so that they apply to text messaging. It would eliminate a loophole allowing companies to use a single consumer consent to an automated call to send text messages from multiple thousands of marketers.

"Robotexts pose a unique threat to consumers. Unlike robocalls, scam text messages are hard to ignore or hang up on and are nearly always read by the recipient – often immediately," the FCC said."

The government agency warns people against clicking links sent from unknown phone numbers or providing personal information.

Complaints can be filed on the FCC's website, and people can forward unwanted texts to SPAM (7726). All suspicious texts should be deleted.