In the last year, robotexts and calls have surged from 1 billion to 15.6 billion a month, with most messages being scams. This puts consumers in a vulnerable position, as many could potentially be taken in by dangerous spam messages or phone calls.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) recently said it would put new requirements on mobile carriers to put a stop to these messages or there would be consequences. However, the numbers have still risen and carriers have been given a final warning to get their act together.
Phone companies that allow roboscam texts to be sent have now been put on red alert and will have two weeks to put a stop to automated scam messages to American consumers’ phones.
Seven phone companies – Akabis, Cloud4, Global UC, Horizon Technology Group, Morse Communications, Sharon Telephone Company, and SW Arkansas Telecommunications and Technology – have been given notice by the FCC to deal with the problem, otherwise, they face being shut down altogether.
This is a bold move for the FCC, but the agency said that fines haven’t worked so far and providers need to follow the rules so consumers aren’t at risk.
When announcing the move, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said: “This is a new era. If a provider doesn’t meet its obligations under the law, it now faces expulsion from America’s phone networks. Fines alone aren’t enough. Providers that don’t follow our rules and make it easy to scam consumers will now face swift consequences.”
The agency has given the phone companies 14 days to prove that they shouldn’t be removed from the database. Removal would mean all calls would be blocked on that network.
Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog for U.S. PIRG Education Fund said: “The problem is not going to be solved in a day. But these are real developments.
“Bad guys will continue to go after our information and money. Scams are a chameleon-like problem with no end in sight. Robocalls are slowing while robotexts are skyrocketing. We still see phishing emails, which started more than 20 years ago, while targeted messages through social media are becoming a bigger menace.”