WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTAJ) — New rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) now require cell phone carriers to block text messages from illegitimate phone numbers.

The regulations that went into effect Monday, March 20 are meant to target rising scam robotexts that are sent to consumers.

Carriers are now required to block texts claiming to be from numbers on a Do Not Call list. This also includes invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers. Providers are also required to maintain a point of contact to report erroneously blocked texts.

With the new rules, the FCC is looking for public input on possible additional requirements for providers to stop illegal texts.

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According to the FCC, scam texts are an increasingly pervasive consumer threat, with a more than 500% increase in complaints in recent years. From 2015 to 2022, robotext complaints rose from around 3,300 to 18,900 per year.

The FCC also recommends consumers take the following steps to protect themselves from scam texts:

  • Do not interact in any way with suspicious texts
  • Do Not click on suspicious links, or provide any information via text or website.
  • Delete all suspicious texts