Verizon is suing a travel company for sending spam text messages over its network.
Passport Holidays allegedly sent more than 98,000 unsolicited text messages to Verizon customers' mobile phones which read, "you just WON a Cruise to the Bahamas" and told the recipients to call an 800 number, but didn't identify the sender, according to Verizon.
The messages started on 11 October and went to numbers in three US area codes in Verizon's home state of New Jersey.
Verizon claims Passport purposefully hide the source of the messages and actively avoided Verizon filters designed to stop spam. In addition to naming Passport, Verizon all lists 50 "John Does" in the lawsuit as it has so far been unable to indentify the individuals responsible.
When a Verizon security investigator contacted Passport via e-mail, the company responded by saying every phone number it contacted had opted in for the messages. Most, if not all, of the consumers who got the messages never agreed to be contacted on their phones, Verizon said in the complaint.
Many of the messages were sent to sequential numbers within a short time span, indicating the company used an automated dialer, which is a violation of US regulations. Sending the messages also violated the federal CAN-SPAM Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act, as well as New Jersey laws against trespassing and invasion of privacy, according to the complaint.
In addition to stopping the messages, Verizon wants damages for every violation: $500 or the actual damages, whichever is greater, trebled because the defendants knew what they were doing. Verizon also wants punitive damages.
Passport officials could not immediately be reached for comment.