New FCC ruling sends very real message to mobile operators to stop robo-spam

In a nutshell: Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its first ruling to combat robo-spam and illegal text messaging practices. The new directive requires mobile operators to block potentially illegal messages from invalid, unallocated, unused or blocked numbers. The regulation is intended to provide the same level of protection for all mobile users, regardless of their chosen mobile operator.

The new rules, officially adopted on March 16, provide clear instructions for wireless carriers to protect consumers from fraudulent and illegal text messages. Messaging scams, also known as robotexting, have become a common problem over the past few years. Unlike robocalls, bottexts can use several strategies to exploit unsuspecting users, from social engineering to fraudulent but authentic looking links and information.

The surge in reported cases and loss amounts prompted the FCC to take recent action on behalf of all mobile consumers. According to the Commission, the number of complaints about robocameras Rose from 3,300 in 2015 to almost 19,000 in 2022. The accompanying report cites consumer losses due to fraudulent text messages. debriefing $231 million for the first three quarters of 2022. The staggering figure means an increase of over 62% compared to 2020.

The new rules require mobile operators to block messages suspected of fraudulent activity based on where they are sent. The scope of the ruling extends to text messages originating from the North American Numbering Plan and numbers identified and included in a “smart” Do Not Originate (DNO) plan.

The DNO plan is provided by providers and includes invalid, unallocated, unused numbers and any blocked numbers previously requested by its users. In addition to blocking plans, carriers must have a point of contact so that people can report erroneously blocked messages.

The scope of the new regulation extends to wireless networks using the short message service (SMS) and multimedia messaging service (mms) platforms. It does not cover over-the-top (OTT) messaging services that rely on existing internet services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.

Despite the new rules, mobile subscribers should not rely solely on their carrier’s newfound responsibilities to stay protected. The announcement refers to previous recommendations and FCC recommendations for mobile consumers who want to protect yourself from fraudulent messages. It includes tips and advice on what activities to watch out for, how users can protect themselves from fraud, information about current FCC actions, and links to more information about robotexts and other types of fraud.

According to the FCC statement and comments, the new robotext spam ruling is the first of what could lead to several future actions to further protect mobile subscribers.

“The Commission will also accept additional public comments on text authentication measures and other proposals to continue the fight against illegal fraudulent robotic texts,” the FCC said in a statement.

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