Unwanted texts a growing problem

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More people called the state to complain about unwanted phone calls than anything else last year. Now, unwanted texts are a growing complaint, and legislation was passed by a Senate committee Monday to include text messages on the Do Not Call list.

At least 18,000 times a year, someone calls the state to complain that they got a call from a telemarketer, even though the recipient had signed up for the Do Not Call list.

The Do Not Call legislation was created long before mobile phones and texting were in use. The changing technology is bringing new complaints from people whose privacy is being invaded.

Just 600 people called to complain about unwanted texts last year and that number is growing.

Text messages often cost users who must pay by the text. Now, Sen. Jeff Clemons wants to add texting to the Do Not Call list.

"This legislation was written years ago to protect people from this kind of behavior," said Clemons. "Here we are in 2014, texting is more prevalent than ever, so it's important that we extend it to include text as well."

The legislation has bipartisan support. Signing up for Do Not Call is free, but being on the list won't do you any good unless you are willing to file a complaint when you get unwanted calls or, if the legislation passes, text messages pitching a product or service.

"So when we have the tools, we can take the action," said Liz Compton with the Department of Agriculture. "We do go after them and there are fines involved. When there are multiple violations, the fines just continue to go up."

Once signed up, the Do Not Call designation is good for five years.

Sixty marketers where fined $190,000 last year for violating the Do Not Call list.

Click here to sign up for the Do Not Call list or call 800-HELP-FLA.

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