The Federal Communications Commission voted last week to enact rules banning fraudulent text messages and international robocalls last week.

The new rules effectively eliminate loopholes in the Truth in Caller ID Act, which banned spoofing domestic calls but made it hard for the FCC to move against scam text message artists and those placing international hoax phone calls.

Under the new rules, however, the FCC can now monitor and penalize “individuals and companies found to be responsible for these types of schemes.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai proposed the new rules on July 8th of this year. He announced the commission’s approval of the new rules as he acknowledged that the FCC has received tens of thousands of complaints about “spoofing” just this year.

“Caller ID spoofing,” which uses area codes similar to the receiver’s own, or sometimes even indicates the call is originating from the receivers own phone, makes it more likely that the call will be answered.

Numbers of consumer advocacy groups have been tracking the alarming trend. Included among those is the AARP Fraud Watch Network which estimates that 48 billion robocalls were made last year, and the number has been rising sharply – up 57 percent from last year.

To further address the growing problem, the U.S. House of Representatives last week also passed a bipartisan bill requiring carriers t o authenticate every call and to offer opt-out blocking for free. The Federal Trade Commission has increased enforcement by bringing lawsuits against groups responsible for more than one billion robocalls.

While legislative changes are being made for consumer protection, the FCC recommends Americans add their phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry by visiting www.donotcall.gov, or by calling 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number being registered. They estimate this step will reduce telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering the number.

Consumers can also assist in federal telemarketing scam investigations by filing a complaint with the FCC if they believe they have received an illegal call or text.

Complaints may be filed online at www.consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us or by calling the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (225-5322) Option 4.