Consumer group says robocalls are down, but robotexts rising by the billions

WASHINGTON, D.C. — You may have noticed robocalls aren’t coming through as much as they used to, or you can spot them faster.

This comes one year after a new federal law requiring phone companies to use caller ID technology on robocalls.

In this new report, Consumer watchdog group U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund says the amount of scam robocalls has dropped in half over the last year.

But experts say the new federal law cracking down on robocalls doesn’t include robotexts. They say this is causing those messages to jump by the billions.

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“We’re seeing a 12 fold increase in robotexts from about a billion a month to about 12 billion a month,” said Teresa Murray, U.S. PIRG Consumer Watchdog.

Murray believes robotexts are even more dangerous than scam robocalls because she said it can be harder to determine if a text is fraudulent and responding to those texts could lead to more damage.

“You could go to a fake website and be tricked into providing your information, like your password and your social security number and your date of birth and that could actually lead someone to be able to hack into your bank account,” she said.

We reached out the Federal Communications Commission and a spokesman for the agency said they are very concerned about this trend. They said the FCC Chairwoman proposed a “substantial” update to agency rules to address this problem last fall. But the FCC has yet to vote on it.

“Like what are they waiting on? Which part of let’s block illegal robotexts are they not on board with? I don’t get it,” said Murray.

But Murray said there are some major improvements for stopping these robocall and text criminals. She said the FCC is now partnering with state attorneys general for robocall investigations and sharing information.


Murray said just a few weeks ago, the FCC and the Ohio attorney general worked on an investigation into one robocall operation that they believe is responsible for 8 billion illegal robocalls since 2018.

“The more we start seeing this, then the more that the bad guys are going to take notice and say, gee, you know, they actually are going to enforce the law, they are actually going to charge us,” said Murray.

We also reached out to the Competitive Carriers Association, which represents nearly 100 carriers nationwide except AT&T and Verizon, and they declined to comment about the report.

Consumers should report illegal robocalls or Do Not Call violations, regardless whether they’re scammed or tricked into providing personal information.

•             Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or file a complaint online at ftc.gov/complaint

•             Here’s a list for people to report illegal robocalls in all 50 states.


Here are tips that consumers may find helpful to cut down on robocalls and avoid getting scammed:


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