BBB explains how to deal with constant text scams as FCC adopts new rules

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 11:34 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It seems almost daily now people are getting scam text messages. Scammers are trying to impersonate different businesses like Amazon, Netflix, even the U.S. Postal Service.

Now the FCC is trying to combat the growing robotext problem. They adopted its first rules focused on the scam texts just two weeks ago.

“You’ve got everything from, ‘Hey! You won a prize.’ to “Hey! You owe back taxes or we’re going to throw you in jail,’” said Garet Smitherman, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Better Business Bureau Serving Central and South Alabama.

He says scammers are taking advantage of all the same tools and technological advancements as we are, like phones and computers. Unfortunately, he adds there’s not much you can do as a consumer to stop these messages altogether.

“There is, of course, the Do Not Call Registry,” he said. “That only applies to businesses that operate within the confines of the law. To be honest, I’m unaware of anything explicit you can do to just stop it.”

So the FCC says they’re stepping in, creating new rules requiring mobile service providers to block certain robotext messages that are likely to be illegal. The organization says scam text complaints rose from around 3,000 in 2015 to nearly 19,000 in 2022.

“If you spot a scam text, do not reply,” said Smitherman. “Just delete it. Even if it says, ‘Reply Stop to End this Text.’ Don’t do that.”

Smitherman says if you reply, you may be putting yourself on a list as an active number and those texts could ramp up even more.

If you click on a link within the message, Smitherman says nothing good will happen. Scammers can either get your personal information or steal money from your accounts, depending on the specific scam.

Smitherman says a big giveaway to spot a scam text: grammatical or spelling errors.

If you get a text or an email or a phone call and you’re unsure if it’s real or fake, Smitherman says you can reach out to the Better Business Bureau for help deciphering it.

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