Coming Soon to Your Cell: Spam

Users pay for unwanted text messages; 'smishers' fish for info
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2008 2:25 PM CDT
A cell phone displays a demonstration of go2 Media's efforts to deliver advertising and content targeted to the interest and location of the user at go2 Media's office in Boston, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – To the dismay of customers and cellphone providers, spammers and even phishers have gone mobile. Researchers predict US consumers will get a record 1.5 billion spam text messages this year, while “smishing” texts try to con recipients into giving up sensitive financial information, reports the Washington Post. Most galling of all, users pay for spam text messages they receive.

It’s illegal for companies to send unsolicited ads to cellphones, and both Verizon and individuals have sued marketers over unwanted mobile ads. Providers try to block the messages, but mobile spammers get them through by masking the sending number. "Spam email usually goes right into my spam filter, but the texts are there, on my phone, and they just keep coming," said one consumer.