Spam Text Messages
Understand Your Rights Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
At some point it has probably happened to you: your phone lights up with a new message and quickly open only to see an annoying spam text.
Perhaps it was something like an advertisement for a useless product or maybe it was borderline gibberish.
Alternatively, perhaps you received a spam text for something far more nefarious, such as an enticement into an investment fraud scheme or a phishing ploy to steal your sensitive personal information.
Unfortunately, spam text messages have become a serious problem in the United States. Spam texts are more than a simple annoyance. According to data cited by the AARP, approximately 70 percent of all spam text messages are designed to defraud the receiving party.
While anyone can be a victim of spam text message fraud, these types of messages are a very common form of elder financial abuse.
The good news is that there are laws that protect consumers against spam text messages. At Sonn Law Group, our consumer protection lawyers have the skills and experience required to help you bring a spam text claim.
Why Are Spam Text Messages a Problem?
A spam text message is a problem for several different reasons. To start, spam text messages are a waste of your time. If you receive a large amount of spam texts, they can clutter up your inbox and cause you a huge amount of unwanted hassle.
In addition, spam texts could potentially take money out of your pocket . If you are required to pay your cell phone providers based on the amount of text messages that you receive, each one of those useful spam text messages can take money directly from you in the form of fees.
Finally, spam text messages are often sent as part of a fraud scheme. In some cases, these text messages are designed to induce investment fraud. In other cases, the spammers are focused on committed consumer fraud. In either case, vulnerable people bear the brunt of the impact.
Anti-Spam Text Messages Law: The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)?
The key federal law that protects you against spam texts is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Passed by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, the goal of the TCPA is to fight back on a wide range of electronic spam. There are other related laws that protect consumers from text message spam as well. For example, the CAN-SPAM Act, while generally used to address spam e-mails, also applies to spam text messages in certain circumstances.
Notably, TCPA is a statute that contains a private right of action. This means you can file a lawsuit against the violator. Under this federal law, a victim is authorized to recover up to $500 to $1,500 per spam text message violation. Generally, victims are required to prove that the defendant willingly and knowingly violated the law in sending the spam text messages to be eligible to recover this compensation.
You Can File a Complaint With the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
You may be wondering how you can report spam text. There are a couple of things that you should know about taking action to stop spam texts. First, you can report any spam text messages to the Federal Trade Commision (FTC). The FTC is the federal agency that is responsible for handling spam text complaints.
In addition to filing a federal complaint, you should also be ready to take private legal action. While reporting the spam text messages is an important step, you will need an attorney if you are seeking financial compensation.
Three Steps to Take If You Have Received a Spam Text Message
If you or your family member was a victim of spam text messages violations, it is important that you know how to protect your rights. At this point, you should be sure to do the following three things:
- Preserve the Spam Messages: If you received a spam text and you are considering taking legal action, you need to save the specific text messages. Similar to all other legal cases, evidence is the key to success in any spam text message claim. If you delete the original text, you are losing a key source of evidence.
- Document All Available Information: With text message spam, you should document all of the available information that you can find. Beyond saving the violating text, should also take a photograph or screenshot of the text message. Be sure to write down the number and record any other relevant information that you have that is relevant to your claim.
- Contact a Consumer Protection Lawyer: Finally, you should be ready to consult with a qualified attorney. Your lawyer will be able to help you take whatever action is appropriate in your case. This often starts with reporting the spam text message. If you or your loved one was the victim of consumer fraud or investment fraud in relation to the spam text, additional legal action may be required beyond a TCPA claim.
Financial Compensation May Be Available
The financial compensation available in a spam text message case can vary widely. In some cases, these claims are brought as class action lawsuits under the TCPA. In other cases, individuals may bring their own private TCPA claims. As was mentioned, the compensatory penalty for a TCPA violation can be as much as $500 to $1,500 per spam text message.
In addition to compensation for the act of spam texts, victims must also be able to recover full financial compensation for any fraud that was related to the text message.
If you were the victim of investment fraud, consumer fraud, credit card fraud, or any other type of financial fraud that is related to a spam text message, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney who can conduct a comprehensive review of your claim and determine exactly what needs to be done to protect your rights.
Contact Our Legal Team Today
At Sonn Law Group, we can help you hold bad acting parties accountable for illegal spam texts. If you received an unlawful spam text, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm to get a free, no obligation review of your case.