FCC Acts to Prevent Fraud in Toll Free Texting

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At its June Open Meeting, the FCC adopted a Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to prevent the fraudulent use of toll free numbers in text messaging.  The Declaratory Ruling prohibits text messaging providers from: (1) text-enabling a toll free number without first obtaining permission from the subscriber for that number, and (2) text-enabling a toll free number that is not yet assigned to a subscriber.  The Declaratory Ruling also requires text messaging providers to disable toll free texting upon a subscriber’s request.

The NPRM seeks comment on proposals to require: (1) a toll free subscriber to inform the company that manages the assignment and routing of the toll free number, known as the Responsible Organization or RespOrg, that the subscriber has authorized its toll free number for text messages; (2) the RespOrg to reflect the subscriber’s authorization to text-enable its toll free number in the toll free Service Management System (SMS) database; and (3) a messaging provider to obtain the subscriber’s authorization for text-enabling a number through the RespOrg.  Comment and reply deadlines for the NPRM will be announced upon its publication in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred.

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