With the rise of smartphones, SMS may be losing its cachet as the primary vehicle for mobile content distribution, but there is still a ton of money being made from it — unfortunately, some of looks like it is downright illegal. Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) is once again trying to crack down on premium SMS scammers in a lawsuit filed in a federal court in Phoenix, Arizona, yesterday.
The lawsuit alleges that a number of premium SMS companies are defrauding Verizon Wireless and its customers. Defendents named are Jason Hope and Wayne P. DeStefano, as well as the companies they own, which include Cylon, Jawa and EyeLevel Holdings, among others.
Verizon says that these companies have been “misappropriating approved short codes for unapproved ‘shadow’ campaigns that did not comply with Verizon Wireless’ consumer protection and disclosure policies.”
Verizon is seeking an immediate injunction on the companies, as well as financial compensation for the fraud.
The suit — the latest from Verizon, which has filed some 20 against mobile scammers since 2004 — follows from one filed by the Texas Attorney General against the same defendants on Monday of this week.
Customers who think they have been affected and want a refund can follow this link to see a full list of defendants and short codes and to submit a claim.