Crackdown on Text Spam

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if all spam disappeared? 

We wish it were easy to get rid of the annoying junk that crowds our inboxes. There doesn’t seem to be a quick solution, although I do wish someone would figure it out.

 In the meantime, there is some consolation. The Federal Trade Commission cracked down on marketers who allegedly sent 180 million spam text messages.  

The messages steered consumers to deceptive websites that falsely promising “free” gift cards. Outrageously, people often had to pay for these texts. If they responded, personal information was allegedly sold to third party marketers.

In eight complaints in courts throughout the U.S. the FTC charged 29 defendants with massive spamming. The agency explained how the scheme worked. “The messages promised consumers free gifts or prizes, including gift cards worth $1,000 to major retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Target. Consumers who clicked on the links in the messages found themselves caught in a confusing and elaborate process that required them to provide sensitive personal information, apply for credit or pay to subscribe to services to get the supposedly “free” cards.”

In addition, the FTC says it is pursuing a contempt action against a serial text message spammer, Phil Flora, who was barred in 2011 from sending spam text messages and who is accused of being part of this spam texting scheme as well.

Charles A. Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection urges, “… consumers who find spam texts on their phones, delete them, immediately. The offers are, in a word, garbage.” 

 

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.