Your BBB® has reported on many cell phone carriers being fined for unauthorized billing for non-requested text message services. Recently, the FBI and IRS announced several arrests of executives at mobile aggregation companies and mobile content providers.
The arrests follow a federal investigation of individuals’ charging mobile phone users monthly fees for recurring unsolicited text messages including horoscopes and celebrity gossip without customer knowledge or prior consent. Phone numbers were obtained from mobile aggregators by a content-provider, in exchange for large payments, using a computer program to auto-subscribe those phone numbers to text message services. The content providers then verified that the numbers were valid, active, and did not belong to phone carrier executives or people at mobile industry compliance groups who would likely initiate an audit. The arrested individuals have each been charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, as well as a charge of wire fraud, with a maximum term of 20 years for each count.
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Posted 9/29/2015. While the BBB endeavors to provide accurate information to the public, changes in the law, facts or circumstances may have occurred since the foregoing was posted. The BBB recommends doing independent research and consulting professional advisors concerning a particular situation.