The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved to address what it branded a growing threat of scam texts, issuing its first mandate requiring operators to block messages from invalid numbers and seeking feedback on potential further measures to protect consumers.

In a statement, the regulator highlighted an increase in complaints about spoof messages or robotexts from 3,300 in 2015 to 18,900 in 2022.

The rules require mobile operators to block messages from numbers deemed as unlikely senders.

Operators are also tasked with working with aggregators to establish a system for valid senders to verify blocked messages.

The mandate adds to the FCC’s efforts to curb robocalls.

It argued scam calls are easier to ignore because users can reject them or swiftly hang up. In contrast, robotexts can usually only be identified once opened, heightening the risk of phishing or malware attacks.

The FCC stated it is seeking public comment on the regulation and “further proposals” to address the issue.