Text scams increase as bot calls drop: report

The number of spam has increased more than tenfold in the year and a half after a federal law aimed at combating robocalls took effect, according to a new report.

In a statement, the US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) – a citizen-funded advocacy group based in the state – said the number of phone companies that have adopted the in-demand technology has quadrupled and the volume of fraudulent bot calls has been cut in half.

In a report from the US PIRG Education Fund, which analyzes the FCC’s robotic call mitigation database, the group found that more than 3,000 companies have not installed industry-standard STIR/SHAKEN technology, but claim to use proprietary automated mitigation. out. the system.

This compares with 1,710 companies last year and reflects companies that did not report their status in 2021.

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STIR / SHAKEN are acronyms for the Standards for Secure Telephone Identity Revision (STIR) and signature-based processing of confirmed information using SHAKEN tokens.

Businessman texts on a cell phone. (iStock / iStock)

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), this means that calls over interconnected phone networks will have the identity of the caller “signed” as legitimate by being established by carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching consumers.

The commission’s rules required service providers to implement STIR/SHAKEN in the Internet Protocol (IP) parts of their networks by June 30.

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The FCC seal appears before a meeting in Washington in 2020. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File/AP Newsroom)

Last year, the FCC required all providers to certify that they have fully implemented STIR/SHAKEN or have established an automated call mitigation program in the Robocall Mitigation database.

Nearly 2,000 people have installed STIR/SHAKEN technology, more than 1,500 have partially adopted it, and just over 1,000 claim they are exempt from the requirement “because they are intermediate providers that do not create or complete calls”.

While the number of monthly robocalls has fallen to 1.1 billion from 2.1 billion in the year since the law went into effect, according to a leading automated call filtering company, spam is up 12 billion a month from one billion.

The man receives a robotic call

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced that it may now require providers to submit a “robot call mitigation plan” that describes how they will block and screen these calls. (FNC/Fox News)

“I’ve been focused on robocall fraud for 15 years and can’t believe we haven’t made much progress,” Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog at the PIRG Education Trust of America, said in a statement. “The FCC approved new rules, Congress passed new laws, and yet we still have over 1 billion fraudulent robocalls and 12 times as many bot texts per month. Americans deserve better enforcement, and companies must take their share of the responsibility.”


The report notes that the FCC is targeting both “gateway” providers that divert fraudulent calls from third-party service providers and smaller providers that were originally exempted from the law through June 2023, but now must comply.

However, she urges more effort, including allowing the public to access “tracking” data.

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