FTC asks court to shut down text spammer

The California operation sent out 85 text spams a minute during one 40-day stretch, the FTC alleges

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has asked a judge to shut down an alleged text-messaging spam operation that sent out 85 text messages per minute at its peak, the agency said Wednesday.

The alleged operation of Phillip A. Flora pitched loan modification assistance, debt relief and other services, the FTC said in a news release. During one 40-day period, beginning in August 2009, Flora's operation sent more than 5.5 million spam texts, a "mind boggling" rate of about 85 a minute, the FTC said in court documents.

One website the operation directed customers to claimed to offer "official" home loan modification services and displayed a photo of the U.S. flag, the FTC said.

Many consumers targeted by Flora had to pay fees to their mobile carriers for the unwanted text messages, the FTC said.

Flora collects information from consumers who respond to the text messages, even those asking him to stop sending messages, the FTC alleged. He sells their contact information to marketers as customers interested in debt settlement, the FTC said.

Several consumers targeted called the texts harassing, the FTC said in court documents.

"Many recipients' wireless handsets audibly notify the recipient when a text message is received," the FTC's complaint said. "Many recipients of Defendant Flora's text message spam received that spam in the late-night or early-morning hours or while at work or school."

The IDG News Service was unable to contact Flora, of Huntington Beach, California,

The FTC, in court documents made public Wednesday, has asked the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to freeze the spam operation's assets.

The FTC's complaint charged Flora with violating the FTC Act by sending unsolicited commercial text messages to consumers, and by misrepresenting that he was affiliated with a government agency. The agency also alleged that he advertised his text message services by sending consumers e-mail spam that violated the CAN-SPAM Act, a law that sets rules for sending commercial e-mail.

The FTC alleged that his e-mail spam failed to include a way for consumers to opt out of future messages and failed to include the physical mailing address of the sender, as required by the spam law.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileregulationlegaltelecommunicationantispamU.S. Federal Trade CommissionCivil lawsuitsU.S. District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaPhillip A. Flora

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?