HOUSTON - Is your phone getting flooded with robotext messages and calls? The FCC is taking action this week on some phone services still letting robocalls through, and on the growing problem of robotexts.
Textkiller expects scam robotexts are expected to swindle us all out of $28 billion this year.
Phones are buzzing with a surge of scams from robotexts. Fake messages that look like they're about, say, an Amazon delivery, bank payments, COVID-19 alerts, or even bogus school bus alerts.
"Click on this link to see if your kid's bus will be late. OK, boom! Now they have access to your bank account log-in or something like that," explained Matt Mizenko with robocall blocking software company RoboKiller. "It’s a huge problem, it’s a growing problem."
Robokiller reports spam texts have surged from one billion a month in June 2021, to 12 billion a month in June 2022. Now the FCC is starting to take action.
"The FCC has come out in the past week and said this is a big problem," said Mizenko. "And now we’re going to go to the phone networks, and just like we did with the calls, you guys are going to need to figure out how you’re going to stop this."
While most telecoms have implemented the FCC's Stir/Shaken technology to reduce fraudulent robocalls, the FCC is threatening to block service from seven Voice Over Internet Providers if they don't implement Stir/shaken within two weeks.
But now robocallers have started to shift from targeting consumers to businesses, which can't ignore phone calls the way consumers can.
"They’re social engineering the information they have about that person and using that to unlock passwords, credit card numbers, things like that," said Mizenko.
To protect yourself, don't answer calls or texts from numbers you don't recognize.
"Don’t click on links you don’t understand. Give more thought to what’s coming into your SMS box," said Mizenko. "And the third piece is you can put software on your phone that basically will filter these things out for you."
Here's one way to spot scam robotexts: Texts from a company or bank that you do business with will usually come from the same number, and you should have a series of messages from them. If you suddenly get one from a different number, that's a sign it could be a scam.