FCC Issues Consumer Alert on Robotext Scams

The FCC’s Robocall Response Team is alerting consumers to the rising threat of robotexts. Substantial increases in consumer complaints to the FCC, reports by non-government robocall and robotext blocking services, and anecdotal and news reporting make it clear that text messages are increasingly being used by scammers to target American consumers.

Robotext scams are on the rise and may even be passing robocalls as a tool for con artists.  

Like robocalls, texts can be spoofed to mask the originating number and make it appear that the text is coming from a number you’re more likely to trust. Spoofers may opt for a local number, or impersonate a government agency, such as the IRS, or a company you’re familiar with. Scammers use these methods to get you to respond to a text.

Consumers who have filed complaints with the FCC say some of the texts resemble email spam, with links to unwanted and unsolicited products. But many of the texts appear to be ploys to steal valuable personal or financial information.  Some recipients have been pressured to "login" to a fake bank web site to verify a purchase or unlock a credit card that was frozen. Others use package delivery updates as phishing bait. 

Now the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers about a new approach, "wrong number" text scams, with many of them originating from chat bots.

Some scammers will go straight for your wallet, but others are seeking personal information they can use in subsequent scams or to sell to other bad actors.

The FCC recommends the following:

  • Do not respond to texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
  • Never share sensitive personal or financial information by text.
  • Be on the lookout for misspellings, or texts that originate with an email address
  • Think twice before clicking any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren't hacked.
  • If a business sends you a text that you weren't expecting, look up their number online and call them back.
  • Remember that government agencies almost never initiate contact by phone or text.
  • Report texting scam attempts to your wireless service provider by forwarding unwanted texts to 7726 (or "SPAM").
  • File a complaint with the FCC.

If you think you're the victim of a texting scam, report it immediately to your local law enforcement agency and notify your wireless service provider and financial institutions where you have accounts.

Please share these tips with friends and family.

For more information about scam calls and texts, visit the FCC Consumer Help Center and the FCC Scam Glossary.