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SMS spammer fined more than £100,000

Antony Savvas

A mobile spammer in the US has been ordered to pay damages to a mobile operator for sending 100,000 messages to its customers.

Verizon Wireless filed a suit against Specialized Programming and Marketing and its owner, Charles Henderson, who sent the spam messages offering a prize cruise in the Bahamas on behalf of Passport Holidays.

In sending the unsolicited text messages to mobile phones, Henderson and his company violated the US Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and are required to pay damages in excess of $200,000 (£106,000).

Passport Holidays was required to pay $10,000 in damages to Verizon Wireless in a separate judgment last year.

"Misguided companies may be tempted to exploit modern technology in an attempt to get marketing messages in front of their potential audience, but spamming mobile phones is not acceptable," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for internet security software firm Sophos. 

He said, "SMS text spam is a tiny problem compared to conventional e-mail spam, but it is growing.  Users should report SMS abuse to their phone network providers and think carefully before acting upon unsolicited text messages," said Cluley.

Charles Henderson, his company Specialized Programming and Marketing, and Passport Holidays are now prohibited from sending text message spam to Verizon Wireless customers, according to the judgement.

This is not the first incidence of text spammers being brought to book. In January this year, a Florida couple was sued for sending five million spam messages to cell phones advertising timeshares. 

Messaging insecurity fuels data leakage fears

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