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Dating website spammer fined $2m

The Brisbane Federal Court yesterday handed out $2 million in penalties to Scott Gregory Phillips for sending SMS spam to people and then charging them around $5 per message if they replied.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor on

The Brisbane Federal Court yesterday handed out $2 million in penalties to Scott Gregory Phillips for sending SMS spam to people and then charging them around $5 per message if they replied.

Phillips and others were involved in a scheme that used a fake dating website to obtain peoples' mobile numbers. They would then send SMSes to the numbers they had obtained pretending to want to chat via the "safedivert" service.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which brought the case against the spammers, believed that the scheme cost Australians $4 million over three years.

Justice Logan said when he delivered his judgement that it was obvious the players had deliberately deceived Australians.

"In cases such as this where the conduct was calculated, deceptive and had a detrimental effect on Australian phone users, the ACMA will not hesitate to use every available avenue to protect the consumer," said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman. "This prosecution again demonstrates the commitment of the ACMA to ensure that individuals and companies comply with the Spam Act."

Other members in the scheme have also received penalties. With Phillips' sentence, those involved have been ordered to pay over $24 million.

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