The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday it had filed eight lawsuits in federal courts around the country against companies it accused of ordering or engineering the sending of hundreds of millions of scam text messages to mobile phone users.
The text messages, which typically promise gift cards to national chain stores or other prizes, are sent to random phone numbers and usually direct recipients to a Web site where they are asked for personal information, including Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other data, F.T.C. officials said.
Rarely, if ever, however, do any consumers receive any actual reward, said C. Steven Baker, the commission's Midwest region director. Instead of fulfilling the promise of prizes, the Web sites often take consumers through multiple screens asking for more detailed information or getting them to sign up for free trials of product.