I have good news and I have bad news today. The good news is that the number of illegal robocalls has actually gone down this year. Automated robocalls which, for commercial purposes, are illegal have been a major problem at a cost to consumers of billions of dollars each year. Robocalls are used by scammers to perpetrate a wide variety of scams. The ease by which illegal robocalls may be made by computers using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) accounts for much of the problem. The number of robocalls has gone down in the last year largely because of the implementation of new required technology to identify and block robocalls and greater attention to prosecuting illegal robocallers.
So much for the good news. The bad news is that the number of robotext message has increased dramatically from a billion per month in 2021 to more than 12 billion per month now. Although it is hard to believe, phone companies do not have a legal obligation to block scam related illegal text messages. It is hoped that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will change this and enact new rules requiring phone companies to take action to reduce these scam related robotext messages. Last year, acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed new rules that would require mobile service providers to block illegal texts, but those rules have not yet been enacted.
The most common phony text messages last year related to phony delivery messages purporting to be from Amazon, the US Postal Service and other delivery services. With so many of us receiving home deliveries it is not hard to see why scams related to deliveries would be attractive to scammers.
Until new regulations are enacted and enforced requiring mobile service providers to block illegal text messages, and frankly even after such rules are in effect, the best place to look for a helping hand will continue to be at the end of of your own arm. The best way to avoid text message scams is to recognize that you can never be sure who is actually contacting you by a text message so you should never click on a link contained in any such message, which may contain dangerous malware. You also should not provide personal information or make a payment in response to a text message unless you have absolutely confirmed that the text message is legitimate.
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