Fighting Fraud With TextNow’s Trust and Safety Team
TextNow’s core purpose is to help people connect with technology for free or as close to free as possible. The rules for using our app are clearly laid out in our terms of service, but like all free mobile apps, we deal with a few bad actors on our platform. That’s where our dedicated Trust & Safety team comes in. It’s their job to prevent would-be scammers from using our service and protect the safety and privacy of our customers. As would-be scammers continually adjust their tactics to evade getting caught, our Trust and Safety team continually refines and improves our platform to reduce their impact.
We took some time to sit down with two members of the team, Product Manager Laura de la Fe and Privacy and Compliance Manager Julienne Forrester, to chat about how they, and we, work to keep TextNow safe for everyone.
How does Trust and Safety work to keep bad actors and spammers off the platform?
L: I’m so excited to be a part of TextNow’s Trust & Safety team. Keeping our customers safe and protecting their privacy is one of our top priorities at TextNow. We have multiple systems in place that help us detect irregular activity to stop spammers and bad actors. We use tools that are standard in the telecommunications industry, things like machine learning models, bot detectors, and we work with third-party vendors to ensure that we can detect and stop spam before it leaves our platform.
Can you identify people who use the platform for abuse or harassment?
L: First of all, harassment and abuse is not tolerated on our platform, and is a violation of our terms of service with grounds to be permanently banned. Like all apps, we do log some information, including IP addresses, which can be used to identify them in instances of abuse.
J: It’s important to note that we place a high value on the safety and privacy of our customers. When we receive requests for information from law enforcement, it’s our policy to comply with all valid legal requests as required by law.
What data does TextNow collect from users?
Does Trust and Safety keep a lookout for any new scams on the horizon?
L: Constantly! We are a mighty team always scouring the internet and other platforms to learn about new ways that bad actors can take advantage of our users or our platform. TextNow is part of the Communications Fraud Control Association, and we work together with other telecommunications providers to catch fraudulent activity and share information with each other to make our platforms a safer place.
What consequences are there for users who abuse our platform?
J: We disable accounts that are found to violate our terms of service. And, as I mentioned before, we comply with all valid legal requests for information from law enforcement.
What can users who are experiencing harassment do?
J: Non-TextNow users are encouraged to email [email protected] to report any harassment they may be experiencing from a TextNow phone number. They should include the phone number and date they were contacted in their report. TextNow and non-TextNow users can block phone numbers by texting #STOP to any number that they would like to block.