SMS spammers have been fined $6.5 million in the Federal Court in Brisbane following proceedings brought by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The fines, $4 million to Jobspy Pty Ltd and $2.5 million to Scott Mark Moles, were imposed following allegations by ACMA that Jobspy and Moles established fake dating website profiles to obtain mobile telephone numbers of genuine dating website users.
These mobile phone numbers were then sent messages from people pretending to want to meet and form a relationship with the recipient. Users who responded to the messages were charged approximately $5 per message.
ACMA alleged that the scheme has cost Australian mobile phone users in excess of $4 million since its commencement in late 2005.
The fines are part of a wider case commenced in December 2008 against eight respondents: Mobilegate Ltd, Jobspy Pty Ltd, Winning Bid Pty Ltd, Simon Anthony Owen, Tarek Andreas Salcedo, Glenn Christopher Maughan, Scott Mark Moles and Scott Gregory Phillips.
In October the Federal Court in Brisbane imposed a total of $15.75 million in penalties against Mobilegate, Winning Bid, Simon Anthony Owen, Tarek Andreas Salcedo and Glenn Christopher Maughan.
At the time, Chris Cheah, acting chair of the ACMA said in the regulator’s view, the conduct of these respondents was particularly malicious and deceitful as it deliberately and systematically preyed upon vulnerable people, offering false hope and expectations.