ABA, associations urge text message authentication requirement

The American Bankers Association and eight financial service trade associations on Tuesday urged the Federal Communications Commission to require text messages to be authenticated and set a deadline for the development and mandatory implementation of a text message authentication solution. The comment was submitted in response to the FCC’s latest in a series of proposals to stem the tide of illegal text messages.

“Banks, credit unions and other financial services providers—and their customers—are negatively impacted by bad actors that increasingly send text messages that impersonate legitimate companies, with intent to defraud,” the associations said in joint comments. “These illegal texts also lead customers to question the legitimacy of the important messages that legitimate companies send, degrading our members’ ability to communicate with their customers and eroding their customers’ trust.”

The associations expressed support for the FCC’s proposal to require terminating mobile wireless providers to investigate and potentially block texts from a sender after they are on notice from the commission that the sender is transmitting suspected illegal texts. The groups also encouraged the commission to apply this requirement to entities that originate texts.

In addition, the groups urged the FCC to revise its proposal that would restrict “lead generators”—entities that may encourage consumers who have an interest in a certain product or service to provide their consent to be called. The FCC proposed to allow an entity to use a consumer’s single consent as the basis for multiple callers to place calls only if those calls are to sell products and services that are “logically and topically associated” with the consent provided. The groups urged the FCC to provide a definition of “logically and topically associated” that is broad enough to protect the consumer-benefiting relationships that banks and other financial services providers have with third parties.