Can the FTC Tackle Text Spam? Proposed Rules Say Yes


Unsolicited text messages are a nuisance that many people have experienced, and they can even be harmful if they contain fraudulent or deceptive content. While the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has long been combating spam calls, the question remains whether they can do the same for text spam. The proposed rules by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to curb text spam are a promising development in this regard.

The proposed rules would require wireless companies to block text messages from numbers on a “do-not-originate” list, which would contain numbers linked to fraud.

This would ensure that consumers are protected from text spam that is associated with illegal activities. Additionally, the rules would prevent marketers from texting numbers on a “do-not-call” registry. This registry was established to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls, and extending it to text messages would provide an added layer of protection.

Another proposed regulation would require providers to block texts from invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers. These types of numbers are often associated with illegal activities such as spoofing, which is a tactic used by scammers to make a text message appear to come from a different number.

By blocking these types of numbers, the proposed rules would prevent fraudulent and deceptive text messages from reaching consumers.

The proposal would also address the “lead generator loophole,” which is a tactic used by companies to deliver robocalls and text messages from numerous other marketers after obtaining a consumer’s consent to receive messages from one source. By prohibiting this practice, the proposed rules would ensure that consumers are not bombarded with spam messages from multiple sources.

The FCC’s proposal was backed by attorneys general and advocacy groups such as the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center.

These organizations recognized the need to protect consumers from unwanted and harmful text messages. However, wireless carriers opposed the proposal, arguing that a “one-size-fits-all” approach could not provide optimal consumer protection. They also expressed concerns about the compliance challenges and costs associated with implementing the proposed rules.

Despite the opposition, the proposed rules represent a significant step in the fight against text spam. The FCC’s proposal would provide a much-needed regulatory framework to protect consumers from fraudulent and deceptive text messages. If implemented, the proposed rules would require wireless companies to take proactive measures to block text messages from known fraudulent sources and prevent marketers from exploiting the “lead generator loophole.”

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