Carriers will be required to block text messages that come from "invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers." FCC orders phone companies to block scam text messages
Operators should block text messages coming from "invalid, not assigned, or unused numbers". Carriers must also block text messages from "numbers that the number's own subscribers have designated as never send text messages and numbers identified by government agencies and other entities known not to be used for text messages," the FCC said.
Network operators must set up a contact point for message senders so that senders can inquire about blocked text messages. The FCC already requires blocking of similar voice calls from these types of numbers.
The FCC is still holding 2-2, more than two years into Joe Biden's presidency, but Robotext's orders are approved 4-0. The FCC is seeking public comment on the rule in September 2022 before finalizing it today. The order enters into force 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register in accordance with the draft order published before the meeting.
More Robottext rules are on the way
More robottext rules may be in the pipeline as "today's action also seeks public comment on additional proposals to require vendors to block text from entities the FCC has designated as illegal robottexters," the FCC said. For example, the FCC proposed clarifying that "do not call" registration protections apply to text messages.
The FCC said it is also proposing to close the "lead generation gap", allowing "enterprises to leverage a single user's consent to send robocalls and text messages from many - perhaps thousands - of marketers on topics that may ... not what users have in mind." The FCC "will also be receiving additional public comments regarding text authentication measures and other proposals to continue to combat illegal Robotext scams."
Complaints about robo text at the FCC increased from 3,300 to 18,900 annually between 2015 and 2022, the FCC said. Many of these bots "promote links to phishing sites or sites that may install malware on a user's phone," the FCC said.
The FCC fills a gap in caller ID authentication
The FCC voted separately today to fill another gap in its caller ID verification rules targeting illegal robocalls. Current rules require telephone companies to implement caller ID authentication technologies known as STIR and SHAKEN.
But those rules don't apply in every possible scenario, so the FCC regularly reinforces them. For example, in June 2022, the FCC will require airlines with 100,000 customers or fewer to comply a year earlier than smaller airlines initially do.
The FCC says today's vote fills another gap: