FCC is contemplating proposal to cease Robotexts


Federal Communication Commission Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel testifies before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 05, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission will soon consider a proposal to block Robotexts, the agency said on Monday.

Many consumers have become familiar with fraudulent SMS messages, such as those claiming to be from a wireless operator promoting bogus pricing or refunds.

The commission said it received around 14,000 consumer complaints about unsolicited text messages in 2020, an increase of nearly 146% over the previous year. The agency has already received more than 9,800 consumer complaints about the unwanted texts this year.

Acting FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel told her colleagues on Monday of the proposed regulation to contain the flood of Robotexts, according to a press release. The proposed rules would require mobile phone providers to block illegal texts.

The move comes after the agency takes on the rise of Robocalls, which may involve scams similar to Robotexts. The FCC took several additional measures to protect consumers from robocalls after Congress passed the Criminal Enforcement and Detachment Act (TRACED) on Robocall Phone Abuse. The bill allowed the agency to impose higher penalties for illegal calls and strengthen the rules that allow phone companies to block those calls initially.

The commission, which currently consists of two Democrats, including Rosenworcel, and two Republicans, would have to vote to incorporate the rulemaking. If so, according to the press release, the Commission would look for ways to prevent robotexts at the network level and possibly impose caller authentication standards for texts.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

WATCH: FCC sets deadline for using new technology to reduce spam calls