Federal Trade Commission settles suit in sweep of text message spammers

A FREE $1,000 GIFT CARD?

Millions of American got text messages recently saying they'd won the jackpot. But, they found out soon enough the people behind it were only after their personal information.

We've warned you about them before , and now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking action.

"Congratulations" the text message says. "Your entry last month has WON!" Then, the text points you to a website to claim your "free gift card."

The texts were for $1,000 gift cards to major retailers like Target, Walmart and Best Buy – and they went to millions of us.

Earlier this summer, the FTC announced a sweeping crackdown on these text message spammers. And, now, they've settled the second case in the sweep , this time against Rentbro, Inc. and its principals Daniel Pessin and Jacob Engel of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The FTC said they sent 42 million text messages to people nationwide and made more than $375,000 off of unsuspecting consumers.

If you click the link they sent, the FTC said, it would take you to a website Rentbro "created to reinforce the deceptive gift card message."

Then, you'd be routed to various third-party sites where you were told you had to sign up for more than a dozen trial offers in order to get your "free" gift card.

Only problem? None of those trial offers were free, according to the FTC.

MY ADVICE

If you get a text message like this, delete it. Get rid of any texts asking you to confirm or provide any personal information.

Legitimate companies don't ask for that kind of information in text messages.

And don't click on unfamiliar links – ever. And check out this page for the FTC's advice on what to do when you get an unfamiliar text message.

If you do get these kinds of solicitations, remember you can file complaints with the FTC. It might not seem like those complaints go anywhere, but this sweep is proof they sometimes do.

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at  joe@abc15.com  or by going to my   "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.

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