Spam texts, often fraudulent, becoming a deluge

Rush Hour

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — New data from RoboKiller, an app that works to block spam calls and texts, shows that the number of spam texts and phone calls is heading in the wrong direction, hitting a record high. 

Estimates indicate that Americans received, on average, around 42 spam texts in the month of March alone. 

And these texts aren’t just annoying, they can be dangerous.

Americans lost $131 million to text-based fraud schemes in 2021, according to the Federal Communications Commission. That’s a 50% jump from the prior year — and this is just in reported losses.

It’s not just texts. 

YouMail, another robocall-blocking software company, estimates that there were more spam calls in March 2022 than in the previous six months.

Last month, close to six million spam calls were placed every hour.

“We have been on a pandemic for the last couple of years. And these calls are a little more increased because there’s … a hot housing market. There’s inflation going on,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rodenworcel. “So we’re looking to refinance debt. We’re doing more with our phones and our personal devices. So we’re on the internet more often.”

Rodenworcel also proposed a plan requiring wireless providers to block illegal text messaging. But it hasn’t been voted in yet. 

In the meantime, what should consumers do?

“First of all, if you see a number that pops up on your screen and your personal device (and) you don’t recognize it? Ignore it. That’s the biggest line of defense,” Rodenworcel said. 

Second, consumers can block the phone number or email. Then, report the message to your carrier, the Better Business Bureau and even the Federal Trade Commission. 

That isn’t a solution for cuttind down on your own spam but will help shut the scam down for others.

“If you’re reported to the Federal Trade Commission, which is obviously a federal agency, they, too, can keep track of trends and perhaps even use some of that information to try to track down where these crimes are being committed.”

Spam isn’t new. Before texts, it was emails and before that, phone calls. Unfortunately, scammers adapt.

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