Online Marketing: FTC Snooping Around Text Message Spammers

Mobile marketing Lawyer
The FTC is on the lookout for text message spammers.

Officials are on the lookout for spam text messaging schemes.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission brought a complaint against a large mobile spam ring. According to reports, the defendants gathered information illegally and sold it to third-party marketing companies.

The case cites violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act. It seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief.

Officials are also asking for equitable restitution on behalf of the victims.

FTC Opens Investigation Into Text Marketing Operations; Suspects Text Spam Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of the alleged activities dates back to June 2011, when it uncovered evidence of consumers being duped in order to receive “purportedly free merchandise, such as $1,000 gift cards to large retailers, and products such as an Apple iPad.”

The defendants allegedly used frowned upon mobile marketing techniques like:

  1. Unsolicited text messages – sent directly by the defendants and through intermediary third-parties, and
  2. Phony prize notices.

Sample spam text messages listed in the complaint included:

  • “You WON! Go to to claim your $1000 Walmart Gift Card Now!”
  • “FREE MSG: you have been chosen to test & keep the new iPad for free only today!! Go to website and enter 2244 and your zip code to claim it now!”

Second Tier Websites Collected More Information Than Users OK’d

The FTC alleges that consumers who received the spam text messages were directed to websites that went further than “the initial promised free merchandise offer” and required consumers to “provide their [winning] code on the text message spam page.”

Then, before claiming the prize, individuals with “winning codes” were required to provide their zip code and email address. Even after entering their personal details, consumers were directed to another webpage that required input of more personal information.

The FTC alleges consumers were required to complete a total of thirteen offers before being able to claim the “free” merchandise.

The FTC alleges consumers were required to complete a total of thirteen offers before being able to claim the “free” merchandise.

The FTC also says that the defendants shared or sold the collected information with third-party marketing companies, which was subsequently used to make prerecorded voice messages for robo-calling purposes.

Contact Text Message Marketing Lawyer

If you work in the online marketing industry, and use automated calls or text messages as a quiver in your online marketing bow-bag, make sure you are operating on the right side of the law. Not sure? Contact Kelly Warner Law.

Yes, I Want to Speak with Someone about an Internet Law Issue »