Florida AG: Robotexts surpass robocalls as most common spam message to Americans

Florida

SEBRING, FLORIDA – JANUARY 24: Ashley Moody, Florida’s Attorney General, attends a press conference to address the shooting at a SunTrust Bank branch on January 24, 2019 in Sebring, Florida. The alleged shooter, Zephen Xaver, entered the building and shot five people to death and was later taken into custody. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody continued her series of warnings to Floridians about scam calls and texts during the holiday season.

Earlier this year, Moody told Floridians that package tracking text scams were coming as the holidays arrived, and warned residents not to click the links.

Moody’s office has issued a Consumer Alert warning for the “rise of robotexts.” The attorney general’s office said Americans were on track to get about 86 billion automated text messages this year, already having received 71 billion as a nation. The office said five billion of those robotexts went to just Floridians.

“These automated text messages are now more prevalent, and potentially more dangerous, than robocalls since malicious links can be clicked on directly in a text. These links often contain malware that can be instantly downloaded to a phone,” Moody said in a statement. “Any interaction with this type of text will show the scammer that the phone number is active, making the targeted user vulnerable to further messages. Consumers should be wary of opening or clicking links in unrecognized texts.”

Moody pointed Florida consumers to the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry. It’s a list anyone can sign up for to help “eliminate telemarketing texts and calls to a phone.” By signing up, residents can report unwanted calls after being on the list for about a month, 31 days.

Those who call someone on the Do Not Call List can be fined for each call. You can register online or by calling the FTC at 1-888-382-1222.

Moody’s office provided the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of illegal robotexts.

  • Avoid answering texts from unrecognized numbers. Interacting with these messages shows the scammer that the targeted user is active and will lead to more frequent scam messages;
  • Do not click on links in text messages from unknown numbers as they often contain malware or lead to malicious websites;
  • Consider downloading text and call blocking apps to further prevent these scam texts from reaching a phone; and
  • Know suspicious text messages from a five to six-digit short code telephone number may be a scam, unless the sender has registered the number in the U.S. Short Code Directory and the content of the message matches the registrant.

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