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Entries in Spam (3)

Wednesday
Nov142012

Papa John's Customers Sue in Class Action over Text Spam

Hemant Chawla/The India Today Group/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- A group of Papa John's customers have filed a class action lawsuit against the pizza corporation as well as a handful of Papa John's franchisees for unsolicited text messages.

U.S. District Court Judge in Seattle John Coughenour certified the nationwide class action case against Papa John's International (NASDAQ: PZZA) for damages the plaintiffs say could reach over $250 million.

Donald Heyrich, an attorney representing the Papa John's customers, said he believes there were 500,000 text messages or more sent to customers over the span of a few years.

The plaintiffs, who first filed the lawsuit in 2010, point to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 which could lead to a penalty of at least $500 per unsolicited telephone advertisement or texting message.

"Businesses across the country spend massive sums of money on spam filtering software on our email," Heyrich said. "We're trying to keep spam out of our cell phones in the way that it has infected our email."

In August, Jiffy Lube settled a similar class action lawsuit for $47 million for text message spam. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing.

The lawsuit against Papa John's also names five Papa John's franchisee owners in different states: Rain City Pizza, Rose City Pizza, Seattle PJ Pizza, PJ Sound Pizza, Papa Washington.

The franchisees and their attorneys did not return requests for comment.

Caroline Oyler, Papa John's senior vice president of legal affairs, said the company plans to appeal the national certification ruling, which is preliminary.

She said it was not Papa John's text messaging program, but it was a third party vendor, OnTime4U, that a small number of Papa John's franchisees used years ago.

"We will continue to aggressively defend the case," she said.

She said the company became aware a couple years ago that some franchisees were using this service.

"We communicated some concerns that we had," she said. "It's important to note these are independent businesses. We can advise but we can't dictate how they run their businesses."

Papa John's has 4,100 worldwide, 3,300 of which are in North America. About 20 percent of its stores in North America are company-owned.

When asked to respond to Papa John's defense that the text messages were not a part of any corporate program, Heyrich said, "The opinion speaks for itself in that regard. The court certified a class of all individuals in the United States who were sent one of these unsolicited text messages."

He said it was not clear how many people received text messages.

"We understand from the complaints that were logged internally at Papa John's that some people were receiving multiple copies of the same message on the same dayl," Heyrich said.

The next step in the case will likely involve discovery and proving the case at trial, which has yet to be scheduled.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug022012

Spam on Your Cell Phone? You're Hardly Alone

Image Source /Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- You hear the text message alert ping, scramble to find your phone, only to find that the message is from an unknown number and the message is asking you to click on a link or text back.

It’s text spam, and according to data released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of those who text say they get unwanted spam or text messages. Additionally, 25 percent of those admit to getting spam texts once a week.

“They [customers] say text spam is more invasive to them than junk mail or even spam emails. And sometimes, the recipients even have to pay for the texts that they never wanted in the first place,” Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center, told ABC News.

Pew’s recent data also detailed other phone annoyances (72 percent of cell owners experience drop calls and 68 percent get marketing calls on their cells), but CloudMark, a company that helps in the reporting of mobile spam, has also seen a rise in the messages. In April and July of 2012 SMS spam peaked significantly, says the company.

“Mobile is becoming the new attack tool for criminals looking for a quick profit,” Mary Landesman, senior security researcher at Cloudmark, told ABC News.

Landesman explained that criminals can profit from mobile spam in a few ways: they can attempt to get people to divulge personal information through text or they can manipulate people into sending premium rate SMS messages, which can cost much more than a regular text.

The two major questions, of course, are: how are they getting the numbers? And what can you do to stop the issue?

Landesman explained that many of these attackers are guessing at the numbers and rarely are working off stolen lists. So, unfortunately there’s not much you can do to stay safe.

But to stop the issue there’s a bit more you can do. In fact, there’s one thing you should do and one thing you shouldn’t. You can forward the spam message to 7726, which alerts the carrier so they can investigate and take action.

What you shouldn’t do is text message the word STOP back.

“Many of these messages tell them reply with the word STOP. The problem with that action is verifying to the attacker that they have a real live number,” Landesman said. In other words, texting back can only make the issue worse and will make that text message ping even more frequently.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov162011

Facebook Spam Attack: Graphic Pics Plague Profiles

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facebook is in the midst of one of its worst security breaches to date.

A few days ago, the social network was hit with a widespread spam attack that's leaving explicit and disturbing images on users' profile pages.

Explaining how the assault may have started, Lance Ulanoff, the editor-in-chief of Mashable.com, says: "The way it starts is somebody either grabs a link or clicks on a link in Facebook or something connected to Facebook which sort off launches it."

Ulanoff says the hackers' intention is not to rob one's identity, but rather "to disrupt the service and really shake people's trust in Facebook."

Facebook says its working on identifying who's responsible for the attack and shutting down those accounts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio