Action 9: Scammers are using more robotexts to target victims

CHARLOTTE — The steps being taken by the government and phone companies to combat robocalls seem to be working, but now it appears that scammers are turning to robotexts.

Analysts say that the number of unwanted text messages has gone up ten-fold in the past year. The problem is that the technology that routes calls to your phone is very different from the tech that routes a text, so the same defenses implemented by phone companies don’t work.

Rodney Epps of Mount Holly told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke that he gets multiple robotexts a week.

“They just come in at all different times,” Epps said. “I’ve been woken up a lot of times -- two, three, four, five o’clock in the morning -- by a text.”

He’s not alone. The company behind the RoboKiller app reports that more than 10 billion spam texts were sent just last month.

The FCC doesn’t track unwanted text messages, but it does track complaints about them. The number of complaints about robotexts went from about 5,700 in 2019 to more than 15,000 last year.

So what’s being done about it? At the state level, the North Carolina Attorney General told Action 9 he’s working with lead wireless organizations to get more information to law enforcement agencies. At the federal level, the FCC says it’s thinking about updating robotext rules, ones that could force phone companies to block spam texts and improve caller ID technology when it comes to texts.

In the meantime, there’s not much you can do to avoid robotexts, but you can protect yourself. If you don’t recognize the sender, don’t respond, and certainly don’t click on anything in the message, even if it says to text “STOP” to end the messages. You’re also encouraged to update your phone with the latest operating system.

You can also report the robotexts to 7-7-2-6.

(WATCH BELOW: Attorney general wants company to pay for role in robocalls in North Carolina)

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