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OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in support of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to require mobile wireless providers to block illegal text messages from phone numbers that are invalid, unallocated, unused, or found on a “do-not-originate” list. Illegal and unwanted robotexts harm consumers and interrupt their daily lives. During 2021, according to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers reported a total loss of $131 million due to fraud by text-message. As robotexts proliferate, the FCC’s proposal is an important first step toward addressing this growing threat and an extension of current call-blocking requirements
“Illegal and unwanted robotexts present the same problems as their counterpart robocalls – they invade consumer privacy and are vehicles for scams and identity theft.” said Attorney General Bonta. “As Attorney General, I have fought to protect hardworking Californians from this daily source of frustration, and I stand in full support of the FCC's straight forward proposal to prevent many robotext scams from ever reaching consumers' phones.”
Just like robocalls, robotexts are an irritation and can result in people losing millions through phishing texts, imposter scams, and links containing ransomware. The attorneys general support the FCC’s proposal to require mobile wireless providers to block unlawful text messages at the network level if they originate from fraudulent numbers. Further, the attorneys general urge the FCC to continue pushing the wireless industry to develop call authentication technology for text messages so people can know if the texts they receive are from spoofed numbers and law enforcement can investigate where these texts are coming from.
Attorney General Bonta has been at the forefront of multistate and state-federal efforts to combat illegal robocalls and robotexts. Earlier this year, Attorney General Bonta and the FCC announced a new partnership on robocall investigations. Shortly after, Attorney General Bonta announced the launch of a bipartisan, nationwide Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force to investigate and take legal action against the telecommunications companies responsible for bringing a majority of foreign robocalls into the United States. The Task Force recently filed enforcement actions against two voice service providers over alleged involvement in illegal robocalls.
Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Arkansas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming in filing the letter.
A copy of the letter is available here.