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Attorney General Ellison asks FCC to put protections in place against robotexts

Joins 51 AGs in request to cut down on unwanted messages that cost Americans millions in fraud

 

December 14, 2022



December 13, 2022 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has joined 51 attorneys general — from every state and the District of Columbia — in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission in support of the FCC’s proposal to help cut down on unwanted text messages. The proposal would require mobile wireless providers to block texts from invalid, unassigned, or unused numbers, and from numbers on a Do Not Originate (DNO) list.

“While my office is taking active steps to fight all forms of robodialing and robotexting that target Minnesotans, I’m continuing to push the FCC and all other federal law enforcement agencies to use their authority to crack down on illegal robodialing,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Phone scams are a large and complex problem that it will take all law enforcement across the country working together to solve.”

Attorney General Ellison continued: “If you get a robocall or a robotext, don’t engage or reply: hang up on the caller or delete the text immediately. Minnesotans are polite people, but these folks aren’t: they’re scammers who are out to defraud you and steal your money. They don’t deserve your politeness. And if you have fallen victim, please contact my office: we may be able to help you and others like you.”

Attorney General Ellison works to ensure all Minnesotans can afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect, and so has long been at the forefront of fighting to reduce the number of harassing and scam robocalls received by Minnesotans. Recently, however, scammers are shifting from robocalling — where Attorney General Ellison and other states have been seeing success in pushing down scam calls — to using robotexts. Just like spam calls, spam texts are an irritation and can result in Minnesotans losing money through phishing texts, imposter scams, and links containing ransomware. In 2021, the FCC received more than 15,000 consumer complaints about unwanted texts and, in 2020, scammers stole more than $86 million through frauds perpetrated via scam text messages.

Attorney General Ellison and the bipartisan coalition of 51 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, Attorney General Ellison is asking 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.

A copy of the letter to the FCC is available on Attorney General Ellison’s website.

Attorney General Ellison encourages Minnesotans who have received scam robotexts or robocalls or been victimized by them to contact or file a complaint with his office at (651) 296-3353 (Metro area), (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota), or online.

 

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