Verizon sues Nevada firm over wireless spam

Verizon Wireless is taking a strong stance on wireless spam. The carrier today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Trenton, NJ, alleging that Nevada-based I-VEST Global Corp. sent unsolicited commercial messages--or wireless spam--to Verizon Wireless customers.

Specifically, the suit says that in April 2007, I-VEST attempted to send more than 12 million text messages to Verizon Wireless handsets offering information about buying stocks or real estate. Verizon says its spam filtering and network monitoring equipment intercepted the majority of the messages and only 5,000 spam messages were delivered to customers. Verizon is alleging that I-VEST violated the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act as well as state fraud and privacy laws. The carrier is asking for a permanent injunction and monetary damages.

Mobile spam is a big concern for wireless carriers because a rise in spam could cause a backlash from consumers and lead to a spike in churn. We spoke with Julie Ask of Jupiter Research about the problem earlier this year and she said that in 2003 and 2004 six percent of adults reported unwanted text messages. In 2005 there was a slight rise in mobile spam: Nine percent of adult mobile users reported unwanted mobile messages.

For more on the suit:
- see this press release