Tired of Scam Text Messages? The FCC Cracks Down

New scam text message rules from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) require carriers to block texts from bad numbers and protect consumers.

Woman holding a mobile phone looking annoyed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Scam text messages were a big part of the $8.8 billion consumers lost to fraud in 2022 — an alarming 30% jump from 2021's total of $6.1 billion. Anyone who's ever gotten an "urgent" message from an unknown number knows the growing scourge presented by text fraud. Now the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking important steps to address the nationwide problem.

Scam text messages: A growing threat

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  • A consumer received a text claiming to be from Amazon and asking if she purchased a cellphone. She called an indicated phone number and spoke to a person claiming to be from the Chase Bank Fraud Division. This scammer convinced the consumer she had been hacked and got her to transfer $67,500 into a cryptocurrency account.
  • A consumer got a text claiming $983 was charged to his PayPal account, a credit card application was submitted in his name, and there were additional charges on the card. The consumer downloaded a screen-sharing program and provided access to his device. Realizing it was a scam, he later deleted the program and changed his banking passwords.
  • A victim got a text from someone asking for a vet appointment for their dog. When the victim answered that it was a wrong number, the texter started a conversation. The victim ended up sending $10,000 to the scammer’s crypto account.
  • A man received a text claiming fraudulent activity on his bank account. He called "the fraud line" only to witness $3,000 leave his account. He disputed the action but it happened again a few days later. The victim fought Bank of America for more than two months over the $6,000 that was stolen from his account.

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Ben Demers
Audience Engagement Manager, Kiplinger.com

Ben Demers manages digital content and engagement at Kiplinger, informing readers through a range of personal finance articles, e-newsletters, social media, syndicated content, and videos. He is passionate about helping people lead their best lives through sound financial behavior, particularly saving money at home and avoiding scams and identity theft. Ben graduated with an M.P.S. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Vassar College. He joined Kiplinger in May 2017.