What the Tech? FCC cracks down on spam texts

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(ABC 6 News) – The F.C.C. is taking on scammers using text messages to spam random people. In the past several years the number of spam text message reports increased by over 500%. Last week, the F.C.C. announced new rules going into place to prevent spam text messages from being delivered to verified phone numbers.

The new rules about scam texts are similar to rules set in place by the F.C.C. about robocalls. It puts the responsibility of stopping them on the wireless carriers.

This new rule calls on wireless companies to verify a text is coming from an actual phone that can and has sent text messages. Otherwise, the message won’t go through. The idea is to prevent scammers from texting hundreds of numbers simultaneously using computer software.

Scam texting is a bigger problem than robocalls which are, for the most part, only annoying. Scam calls are often labeled as “likely spam” so you can ignore it.

Scam texts, on the other hand, are always seen by the person getting one. They’re also more dangerous because they usually contain links to malicious websites. The use of scam texts is called “smishing”. Some try to get you to open a link that can ask you to log in to an account which would give the scammers your account username and password. These are often texts pretending to be from a delivery driver saying your package is on hold, or texts from someone pretending to have the wrong number.

What you can do right now to help the FCC and carriers block numbers is to report them. When you get a scam text, don’t respond. Delete and report it which should prevent the number from sending other text messages. The FCC’s new rule for wireless carriers goes into effect after allowing for public comment on the plan.

In the meantime, if you receive a spam or scam text message, the F.C.C. asks that you forward it to the F.C.C. using the number 7726, or “SPAM”.