HONOLULU (KHON2) — You may have escaped robocalls, but a new phone frenzy is hitting many devices: robotexts.
A state senator is asking the United States Congress to make it stop.
The Federal Trade Commission received 334,833 complaints about spam texts in 2020, double the reports made in 2019.
“Many of them are spam,” Sen. Bennette Misalucha said. “They have links. These links usually lead us to some website, and there’s a lot of unsuspecting folks out there particularly young people and kupunas. So this resolution is really intended to protect them.”
Misalucha is now hoping a resolution to congress will get federal help on the problem.
The barrage has even prompted local businesses like Hawaii USA to issue warnings on their website:
“Fraud alert: Scammers posing as HawaiiUSA are sending text messages, followed by a phone call. DO NOT click links, respond, or share sensitive information with unknown sources.”
The worry is some might be more open to a text message than an email or scam calls.
“It’s email that we’re so used to,” Sen. Misalucha said. “We know about phishing but the text version is one that is most recent. We’re not as discriminatory about how we receive it. Our institutions may have our phone numbers and we think, okay, it’s okay to click.”
Misalucha says legislating this locally won’t work due to a lack of resources.
“This is really more of when you talk about telecommunications it’s more a federal issue,” she said. “So it’s really incumbent before Congress. It behooves them to take action because this is getting to be a problem. And not just in Hawaii, but all over the country.”
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The resolution is scheduled to be heard Tuesday morning.