The Secure Times

An online forum of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law's Privacy and Information Security Committee

FTC Requests Court Shut Down Text Message Spammer

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Yesterday, the FTC filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California requesting a permanent injunction against Philip Flora, alleging violations of §5 of the FTC Act and CAN SPAM.

According to the complaint, the defendant sent millions of text messages, selling loan modification assistance, debt relief, and other services.  In a single 40-day period, the defendant sent more than 5.5 million spam text messages.  The text messages instructed consumers to reply to the message or to visit one of the defendant’s websites.  The defendant collected information from consumers who responded, then sold their contact information to marketers as debt settlement leads.  The FTC alleged that consumers were harmed as a result of the defendant’s spam text messages because many must pay fees to their mobile carriers to receive the unwanted messages.

The Commission charged that the defendant violated the FTC Act by sending unsolicited text messages to consumers and misrepresenting that he was affiliated with a government agency.  The Commission also charged the defendant with violating CAN SPAM by sending emails that advertised his text message blast service that failed to include an opt-out mechanism and the physical mailing address of the sender.

The FTC also acknowledged the "invaluable assistance" it received from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and CTIA – The Wireless Association in its press release.

Author: Heather Enlow-Novitsky

VP, Assistant General Counsel, Bank of America Merchant Services

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