FTC Hunting Down SMS Scammers

SMS spammers looking for cover have found there are few places left to hide.

The FTC has begun aggressively following up on its pledge to crack down on the tricksters taking aim at our cell phones.

In the last two years, regulators have found that hundreds of thousands of mobile phone users have been charged for “premium text” services that they did not authorize, a practice known as bill cramming.

According to comprehensive coverage provided this week by the New York Times, the Federal Trade Commission has announced its first cellphone cramming case.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has charged Wise Media and two of its owners, Brian M. Buckley and Winston J. Deloney, with alleged “unfair or deceptive business practices.”

Concrete Marketing Research was similarly charged with allegedly receiving funds that could be traced to Wise Media’s actions.

Not surprisingly, the offending messages (sent as premium SMS service) promised everything from horoscopes to psychic services. But the company’s fortune-telling resources obviously didn’t see the FTC coming. And now the FTC is taking action in response to its belief that Wise Media illegally charged mobile phone users.

Many expect the FTC to try to make an example out of Wise Media in hopes of deterring other companies from committing the same alleged offenses.