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The battle against illegal robotexting and the telecom industry’s efforts to combat this continuing scourge was the subject of a highly informative MEF webinar sponsored by netnumber Global Data Services and moderated by James Williams, Director of Programs at MEF.

The webinar panel featured two key players in the messaging ecosystem;

  • Marco Lafrentz, Vice President of Business and Market Development at netnumber Global Data Services, the world-leading provider of phone number intelligence data
  • Sarah Delphey, VP of Trust Solutions at Numeracle, a provider of actionable identity management and communications solutions

Eliminating mobile fraud vectors to the fullest extent has remained a primary concern throughout the global mobile ecosystem practically since the dawn of mobile communications itself.  Robotexting, or sending text messages through automated means, is increasingly used to transmit scams that corrupt the end user’s most trusted and personal line of connection to the world.

Achieving Anti-Robotext Compliance: FCC Data and Updates

According to the FCC, text message scams are rising rapidly, with a more than 500% increase in consumer complaints from 2015 to 2022. Robotexts, like robocalls, can be spoofed to mask the originating number to make it appear that the text is coming from a trusted source. Spoofers may opt for a local number or impersonate a government agency, such as the IRS, or a company people are familiar with to encourage unsuspecting consumers to respond to the text.

With more and more consumers facing these daily threats, it’s not surprising that stopping illegal text messages has moved to the forefront of regulatory concern. The FCC’s recently released Robotext report and order now presents mobile wireless providers with a clear requirement: Do better when blocking and filtering invalid, unallocated or unused numbers to limit the ways that these fraudulent acts threaten users.

This is undoubtedly a step forward for mobile security, but it creates a big question: How can providers effectively adjust operations to meet new requirements while limiting disruption?

Achieving Anti-Robotext Compliance; What the Experts Have to Say

During the webinar, presenters gave attendees a better understanding of the state of mobile fraud today while discussing preventative measures – such as text authentication solutions – that can help to reduce the incidence of illegal robotexting. The speakers also discussed the positive impacts these measures can have within the provider’s own operations and the secrets to balancing compliance with ease, simplicity and efficiency.

As the conversation continued, speakers also noted that robotexts pose a unique threat to consumers because, unlike robocalls, scam text messages are hard to ignore or hang up on and are nearly always read by the recipient – often immediately. Consumers who have filed complaints with the FCC say some of the texts resemble email spam, with links to unwanted and unsolicited products. But many of the texts appear to be ploys to steal valuable personal or financial information. Some recipients have been pressured to “log in” to a fake bank website to verify a purchase or unlock a credit card that was frozen. Others use package delivery updates as phishing bait.

As a result of these growing scams, consumers around the globe lose billions of dollars each year. While a massive problem, the webinar speakers said many tools are available, such as the strategic use of phone number data intelligence for real-time number validation, to help telecom providers reign in the robotexting wave.

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