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   March, 2012

Text Spam Comes in All Forms

As citizens are increasingly learning, text message spam comes in all forms and is directed at many targets, from voters to buyers. Political campaigns recently were caught spamming voters and grabbed the attention of the national press. But, how about the more traditional targeting of consumers?

In a period of economic recession, many shoppers are looking for bargains. A new text fraud by Walmart impostors are apparently looking to bank off of such consumers, offering fake $1,000 Walmart gift cards. The text, informing recipients of their supposed gift card, is embedded with a link to a website prompting the entry of personal information.

Such a message is called smishing, similar to phishing, only geared to texts, or SMS,” The Business Journal states.

These tactics attempt to trick consumers into thinking they are submitting their information to a reputable source. Scam Book claims the Walmart Text Spam Group is “false advertising.”

The Walmart scam text has spread rapidly, nationwide. WebProNews writes, “The BBB is fielding complaints all across the U.S. concerning the texts.”

Even one of our own employees received a text message from the Walmart spammers this morning:

 

Walmart has released a statement, explaining that the texts are not from them. Nonetheless, we all need to be weary of text fraud. The Better Business Bureau says, “smartphones are very convenient but consumers should be careful about using them – When you use a device for everything from banking to personal photo albums, the last thing you want is someone gaining access to the phone.”

Worst of all, unsolicited text message spam is charging citizens in times of economic adversity, the opposite of a promise of $1,000. It will be important to sustain pressure on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to properly regulate the growing problem. Revolution Messaging is working towards this goal – check out PocketSpammers.com for more information.

 


Latest Gallup Survey Roundup on Mobile and Social Media Trends

Does the United States think we are the country with the most frequent Internet users? If so, we are wrong. According to the latest Gallup survey, it is Iceland with 95% of the population regularly using the Internet. This is just one of the findings from GALLUP International’s latest survey done in collaboration with Worldwide Independent Network for Mark Research (WIN), which helped conduct the survey in 44 different countries during the winter of 2012.

Endless studies have shown how mobile usage is growing worldwide and how smartphone ownership and use of mobile Internet is increasing everyday. The results from Gallup reiterate these statistics and show some interesting facts about how our world is adapting and responding to mobile and social media trends.

“The ability to connect anywhere and anytime is nowadays a must,” the Gallup survey says. “These [mobile and social media] trends are changing lifestyles and consumers around the globe are shifting and adapting the way they communicate.”

One of the key findings of the survey is the number of smartphones owned almost doubled from 2010 to 2011, increasing from 19% to 35%. Apple is the number one preferred brand for these smartphones, according to 38% of the survey respondents. Even though feature phone ownership decreased slightly in 2011, the favored brand is still Nokia with 31% preferring it to any other feature phone brand.

And who are these smartphone owners? The survey found that in 2011, 37% of owners were men and 32% were women. This continues to be the trend going into 2012 as well. Owners tend to be young as well with 41% of owners falling in the age group of 25 to 34 years old and 39% of owners being under 25 years old.

Throughout the world, people spend an average of 18 hours online per week, which equals to 2.6 hours a day. Out of most online activities, the survey also found that about 25% of consumers perform them on their mobile devices. And with all this time online, 1 in 4 minutes is spent on social media sites.

Interested in more information? Read the full results here.


In Case You Missed It…

Have you joined the Revolution in calling out to the Federal Communications Commission to stop political text spam and end the latest type of voter suppression? In case you missed it, this week three different news outlets covered our petition asking the FCC to clarify its regulations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits groups from sending text messages to your cell phone without an opt-in or opt-out feature. This regulation applies to all SMS campaigns and the FCC must make this clear and enforce it. Learn more about our efforts and how you can help avoid a costly election for voters with these three great sources:

Vote 4 Me!!: The political consultants who want to send you unsolicited text messages, and the man who is fighting to stop them. By Sasha Issenberg

Slate tells the story of the fight to end political text spam from the beginning when Revolution Messaging founder Scott Goodstein investigated a spam claim from 2009 to today and the current petition filed with the FCC.

Political junk mail you pay for: It’s not exactly free speech when the recipients have to pay for unwanted political text messages, a relatively new phenomenon that regulators should squash now.

LaTimes.com wrote an editorial comparing unsolicited text messages, which costs voters money each time they are sent an unwanted text, to other forms of negative campaign ads, which voters aren’t charged for. The editorial understands the need for immediate action to end this “relatively new phenomenon that regulators should squash before it spreads.”

School for scandal

CBC.ca National News in Canada interviewed Revolution Messaging Founder Scott Goodstein and Founder of StopPoliticalCalls.org Shaun Dakin on the dangers of using technology for voter suppression activities.