The Times report is here. An excerpt:
The messages, which typically promise gift cards to national chain stores or other prizes, are sent to random phone numbers and usually direct recipients to a Web site where they are asked for personal information like Social Security numbers or credit card numbers, agency officials said.
Rarely, if ever, do consumers receive any actual reward, said C. Steven Baker, the commission’s Midwest region director. Instead, the Web sites often take users through multiple screens that ask them for more detailed information or entice them to sign up for free trials of products, then charge them for shipping and handling.
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Roughly 60 percent of mobile phone users have received one or more spam text messages in the last year, [Baker] said, and about 15 percent clicked on the link included in the message.
Federal law bars the use of automated dialing machines to send text spam, which as a practical matter means that such spam is illegal, because it takes so much time to send texts manually that text spam becomes uneconomic.