Couple sued for sending 5 million spam cell phone messages

January 24, 2007 Sophos Press Release
Mobile phone receiving an SMS spam message
Spam on mobile phones is becoming a growing problem.

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have warned of the rising nuisance of spam sent to mobile phones as two people from Florida have been charged with flooding cell phones with spam messages advertising time shares.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a suit against Neela Pundit and Charles Rossop for sending 5 million unsolicited text messages to cell phone owners across the country.

More than 200 consumers complained in Illinois alone after receiving the advertisements in October and November 2006 which read:

We have someone interested in buying or renting your Time Share

and encouraged recipients to visit two internet websites.

"Cell phone spam isn't just a nuisance, it can potentially hit you in the pocket too. Often mobile spam messages may tell you just to call back a certain number, only for the recipient to find they are unwittingly making a premium rate call," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Although it's a long way to go before SMS text spam is anything like as big a problem as regular email spam, we are hearing more reports of cell phone users being targeted. Users should report SMS abuse to their phone network providers and think carefully before acting upon unsolicited text messages."

This week Sophos published its annual Security Threat Report, which detailed the latest developments in the techniques used by spammers to try and get their marketing messages in front of internet users.