ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr has joined 50 attorneys general in supporting the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to help cut down on illegal text messages and better protect consumers from potential scams. Specifically, the FCC proposal requires mobile wireless providers to block texts that come from invalid, unassigned or unused numbers, and from numbers on a Do Not Originate list. Carr previously supported a similar blocking requirement to help put a stop to illegal robocalls.
“While progress has been made in our fight against illegal robocalls, scammers are now using text messages as a means to perpetrate their crimes,” said Carr. “Scam texts may initially appear to come from a trusted source and, for this reason, consumers may be more inclined to comply with requests for payment or personal information. It is important that the FCC takes the necessary steps to combat the prevalence of these fraudulent texts so we can help Georgians better protect their wallet and their identity.”
In addition to robocalls, criminals are now using robotexts to run their scams. These scam texts put consumers at risk of falling victim to fraud or identity theft. In 2021, the FCC received more than 15,000 consumer complaints about unwanted texts and, in 2020, criminals stole over $86 million through fraudulent texting schemes.
The attorneys general are also asking the FCC to encourage the wireless industry to develop call authentication technology for text messages so people can know if the texts they receive are from spoofed numbers and law enforcement can investigate where these texts originate.
Tips for Avoiding Scam Text Messages
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division offers the following tips to help Georgians identify and avoid illegal and fraudulent text messages.
- Do not click on any links or reply to texts from unknown or unverified senders. This could download malware onto your phone, give the scammer access to all of your data, or lock your device.
- Never provide your credit card number, bank account, driver’s license, online account name, password, or PIN to someone who texts you out of the blue. If you want to confirm whether the text message is legitimate, contact the company or agency through a verified phone number or website – not the one provided in the text message.
- Do not respond to a suspicious or unwanted text message, even if prompted to "text STOP" to end messages. While texting "STOP" to a legitimate organization can opt you out of receiving future texts, doing so in response to a fraudulent message can actually let the scammer know that your number is active and can be sold to other bad actors. You can try verifying whether the number that is sending the texts is legitimate by looking up the number online to see if it is used by a reputable organization or business.
- Make sure your smart device and security apps are updated to the latest version.
- Contact the organization that the con artist is impersonating so that they are aware and can take appropriate action.
- Report the message to your phone carrier by forwarding it to 7726.
- Block suspicious numbers and delete the associated text messages.
- Report scam texts to the FCC by calling (888) 225-5322 or file a complaint online.
Additional information about scam texts and how to protect yourself can be found here.
A copy of the comment letter sent from the attorneys general to the FCC can be found .