Robotexts Are the Next Annoying Spam Ready to Blow up Your Phone

Is there anything more annoying than robocalls? Turns out there is. Robotext reports have been increasing even as phone carriers and regulators have been making steady progress against robocalls.

Big-name companies such as AT&T claim that they can automatically block robocalls now. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it is increasing its measures against the scam callers. But what about robotexts?

Spam texts currently compose less than 3 percent of the total number of SMS messages sent, according to Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), a wireless communications industry grouping. However, there were nearly 1 trillion texts sent by Americans alone in 2017, and likely an even greater number in 2018. That means that robotexts are still numbering in the millions.

The FCC describes robotexts as a "triple threat". The spam text messages can be used for phishing purposes by identity thieves or to inject malware into the target's phone. On top of that, these hackers can increase charges for receiving unwanted texts on certain wireless plans. These texts can also clog up your phone with all these spam texts, which could affect performance.

The Federal Trade Commission has received more than 93,000 complaints about spam text messages in 2018, according to The Wall Street Journal. T-Mobile said it has blocked an average of 1 million texts each day in July, and Verizon has said much the same.

The FCC recently voted on new regulations that ban spam text messages by finally removing a loophole in the Truth in Caller ID Act, which banned spoofing phone numbers.

The FCC said it was coming down hard on illegal robocalls and texts by fining the responsible people (it's illegal to send unsolicited commercial text messages, after all) and giving the cellphone carriers more authority and options to block them.

Still, it can be quite difficult to completely stop unwanted SMS messages because much like with robocalls, there are wanted robotexts from real, authentic businesses and companies. Also, much of the time, the spam texts come from outside the USA.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to decrease robotexts.

You can always block numbers, which send you unwanted texts or calls, for example.

The FTC advises that you shouldn't reply or click on any links in unwanted texts or texts from unknown sources. Don't even reply to them, as them makes the scammers aware that your number is real and working.

Also, never give them any personal information via text, the FTC added. It's best to simply delete the texts. You can also forward them to 7726 (SPAM) for free to inform your phone carrier.

The FCC and the FTC both accept complaints from clients about fraudulent text messages if you wish to inform them.

September 10, 2019

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