It’s ‘Game Over’ for SMS Scams, Says FTC

The FTC is issuing a stark warning to those who perpetrate text-based scams on American mobile consumers.

On Thursday morning, the Federal Trade Commission invited press to its Midwest Region Office in Chicago to announce a series of enforcement actions designed to protect consumers nationwide from a pervasive series of scams built on text messages

The FTC is taking precise aim at affiliate marketers that use SMS to trick consumers into chasing “free” gift cards through underhanded practices.

In eight different complaints filed in courts around the United States, the FTC charged 29 defendants with collectively sending more than 180 million unwanted text messages to consumers, many of whom had to pay for receiving the texts.

The Commission’s complaints seek restraining orders against the defendants, which would effectively prohibit them from continuing their allegedly deceptive tactics.

As the FTC points out, however, the Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law.

The cases will be decided by the court.

“Today’s announcement says ‘game over’ to the major league scam artists behind millions of spam texts,” explains Charles A. Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC is committed to rooting out this deception and stopping it. For consumers who find spam texts on their phones, delete them, immediately. The offers are, in a word, garbage.”

To read the full announcement from the FTC, click here.