Text Scams – New FCC Order Could Substantially Reduce Them

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

Text Scams – The United States Federal Communications Commission Is Going After Them

On November 22, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted its Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which outlines new measures to combat illegal text messages (text scams and illegal marketing texts.)

The Federal Trade Commission (FCC) has jurisdiction over text messaging between phones, and it is looking to use its power to tackle text scams.

What the FCC is Going to Do

  1. In order to significantly reduce text scams, the FCC is going to require terminating mobile wireless providers to block all texts from a particular number when notified by the Commission of illegal texts from that number.
  2. The FCC will codify that the National Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry’s protections extend to text messages. Currently, they do not.
  3. The FCC will encourage providers to make email-to-text, a major source of illegal texts, a service that
    consumers must proactively opt into. Meaning you do not have to, and will not have by default.
  4. The FCC will close the lead generator loophole by making it unequivocally clear that comparison-shopping
    websites must get consumer consent one seller at a time and thus prohibit abuse of consumer consent by such websites.

What the FCC Further Notice Would Do

  1. It will propose and seek comments on additional text-blocking options, including requiring originating mobile wireless providers to block texts from a particular number when notified by the Commission of illegal texts from that number or risk all of their texts being blocked.
  2. The FCC will seek comments on the current state of text authentication.
  3. The FCC will seek comments on the traceback process for texting and whether to adopt a requirement for mobile wireless providers to respond to traceback requests from the Commission and law enforcement.
  4. The FCC will propose and seek comment on requiring mobile wireless providers to make email-to-text an opt-in service.

What the Waiver Order Would Do

It would allow mobile wireless providers to use the Reassigned Numbers Database to determine whether a number has been disconnected after the date of illegal texts in the Commission’s notification to avoid blocking texts from reassigned numbers.

What This Means for Consumers

The FCC’s new measures are a significant step forward in the fight against illegal text messages. Consumers can expect to see a decrease in the number of unwanted, unsolicited, and illegal text messages they receive. Additionally, consumers will have more control over their text messaging experience, with new options for opting out of unwanted messages.

How It Will Better Protect Against Text Scams

The FCC’s new measures will help to protect consumers from text scams by:

  • Blocking illegal text messages from reaching consumers’ phones
  • Giving consumers more options for opting out of unwanted messages
  • Making it more difficult for scammers to obtain consumer consent

Creating a Fairer Communications Landscape Without Abuse

The FCC’s new measures will help to create a fairer communications landscape by:

  • Reducing the number of unwanted and illegal text messages
  • Giving consumers more control over their text messaging experience
  • Leveling the playing field for businesses by making it more difficult for scammers to abuse consumer consent

Summary

The FCC’s new measures are a welcome step forward in the fight against illegal text messages. These measures will help to protect consumers, reduce the number of unwanted messages, and create a more fair communications landscape.

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