back to article FCC takes on robotexts. Good news if your dad thinks IRS gives SMS rebates

The FCC has opened proceedings to fight scam text messages that have become an increasing part of daily life for US consumers (and techies who have to talk grandma out of clicking that FedEx package delivery link). The FCC's plans are less about reinventing the wheel and more about applying existing rules toward a new end – in …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    And the hosts?

    Those SMS spams aren't linking to untouchable foreign servers. They're not transient accounts that are gone before you find them. It's a solid infrastructure built up using Namecheap, Cloudflare, Amazon, Salesforce, Google, Genesis 2, and probably more that I don't see in my daily spams for credit card phishing. The hosts all know what they have and chose to continue.

    [For Reg mods that need proof when Cloudflare is mentioned, open a private browsing window, turn on request logging, set the browser to identify as a mobile device, and open "". Use test credit card numbers to advance through the scammer's network. That's one of the larger scam infras. ]

  2. aerogems Silver badge

    Why Aren't Carriers Doing This Already?

    It seems to me like carriers would want to be doing this anyway, and it's be pretty easy for them to build up a blocklist. Never ceases to amaze me how it takes the government finally stepping in to force American companies to do things they should have been doing anyway, and no doubt there's going to be much wailing and gnashing of teeth about government overreach.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Why Aren't Carriers Doing This Already?

      Sirs - your actions affect and are vexatious and offensive to many; why don't you stop?

      Because it's legal, and also, money...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But mostly the last part.

        And the FCC are still helping them.

        This still leaves the scammers in operation, it just cuts into their margin and increases the cut the carries are taking. If you block them from the mentioned invalid lines, they will just keep churning through valid lines, and buying new ones as the carriers block them.

        There is nothing in to address the carriers selling them lines in the first place, or the fact they drag there heels processing reports and complaints. There is also a deafening silence about the fact that neither Android nor iPhone supports on device Robocall reporting. The device and carrier may even flag the call ID as "Spam Risk" or "Robocall" but there aren't on device controls for muting, blocking, or screening them.

        If the scammers get reported and blocked after 4-5 calls, they won't be able to make a sustainable revenue stream from it.

        Lastly, since the carriers plainly can resist skimming profit off of outright fraud, they should get fined back the subscription fees they are collecting to cut out their financial incentive protect fraud.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: device controls for muting, blocking, or screening them

          I don't have an iPhone so I cannot comment on them. But I did love it when I found out my Android could set a Do Not Disturb time that would stop my phone from ringing at night unless it was from a number in my contacts.

          I found that after 2 or 3 nights of SPAM texts at 3 AM in the morning.

          1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

            Re: device controls for muting, blocking, or screening them

            I did exactly the same when my bank decided it was a good idea to start spamming me in the middle of the night with information about my account.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Why Aren't Carriers Doing This Already?

      Carriers aren't doing it now because the downside for blocking legitimate text messages is larger than letting some illegitimate ones through.

      They need the FCC to mandate this, so it will give them cover when legitimate messages are accidentally or overzealously blocked.

      Probably originally they didn't care because they made money from them, back when consumers paid for texts, so they never put any infrastructure in place for blocking. But that argument is long past in the US.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why Aren't Carriers Doing This Already?

        I used to receive a bunch of scam texts that were supposedly from phone numbers that were subscribers to my own carrier. The carrier could EASILY have gone "hey, this text message supposedly from OUR customer X is coming in via email from Russia, maybe it's not legit", but nope, they'd deliver them anyway... and they were GROUP text messages broadcasting to dozens of people simultaneously. (When I replaced my phone, they mysteriously stopped.)

        +1e99 to the FCC mandating that they block at least the obvious ones!

  3. Terry 6 Silver badge

    All the above but also

    This is 2022. This kind of scam and related ones have been around for a long time. Grandma wasn't a grandma when we first started to hear about technology scams from mobile phones, computers and landline calls. This is no longer a surprise.Why are people still falling for these? What does it take for people to start to realise that no, they don't need to pay Fedex/UPS for a parcel (especially one that they know they haven't ordered), that they haven't won a lottery they didn't enter and that lawyers don't send random messages about legal claims that they can share in.

    1. deep_enigma

      Re: All the above but also

      ..... about a couple zillion years past "never"?

  4. DJ

    The FCC will get right on that...

    just as soon as they address the blasting volume used on most TV commercials.

  5. Kimo

    Oh no...

    How will they reach me about my vehicle's extended warranty?

  6. trindflo Bronze badge

    How much e-crime will this prevent and at what cost?

    First, huzzah! Great something is being done. Where are we going with this?

    The last I heard there are a small number of scams coming from known locations. This new policy prevents an important vector for the initial contact by blocking entities from known bad areas that won't identify themselves from making robotic text messages and phone calls.

    If the FCC does nothing further it will still have an important effect (on my sanity if nothing else), but I'm not sure how well blocking that important vector will be long-term when the internet is still available.

    More could be done if we want to leverage carriers to enhance enforcement: tie a particular scam, "lonely hearts" for instance, to particular call / connect patterns such as point of origin, time, duration, frequency, etc. Follow up with a police visit instead of a disconnect notice.

    If there is a will to really go after the crime there is a lot we can do now. I don't know that the majority of people would be comfortable with anything quite that Orwellian, and sometimes that just means it goes on quietly behind the scenes in that grey area where criminals don't get the rights they don't deserve. If you mostly guess right, people might not get too upset.

    So again, I'm loving the first step and wondering what is next. This box wasn't delivered by a girl named Pandora was it?

  7. ivorb

    What about all those "give us money to save america" texts ?

    When it comes to unwanted scam texts (rather than robocalls), the bulk of them seem to be promising to "save America" by donating to various PACs or various candidate's campaign fund.

    Most of these candidates who the texts desire to exalt are out of state and mostly (but not all) for allied with the Orange Muppet. The "reply STOP to end" seems to make no difference.

    Can we please criminalize all unsolicited texts ? The possibility of a fair portion of our politicians languishing in jail (even better, bring back the stocks) and paying us for the wasted time, pain and suffering from their actions would be a huge improvement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about all those "give us money to save america" texts ?

      PLEASE! I apparently got on some political spammer list, and keep getting these. Sending STOP just means I get ones from some other group. (Typically for a race that I can't vote in, to boot.)

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What about all those "give us money to save america" texts ?

      Sure just contribute to my campaign to block political spam.

      Just send money ($ for preference, no pounds please) to 1-555-NOTSCAM

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