[DNS] DC Marketing SMS Scamming & Spamming

[DNS] DC Marketing SMS Scamming & Spamming

From: Stephen Edgar <stephen§netweb.com.au>
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2006 11:35:22 +1000
Many thanks Josh,

I have subscribed to the list you recommended and your reply is very
valuable information thank you. The EFA mentioned the report was out
when I spoke with them on Thursday and I just could not find a download
link for the public report. I am reading through most of it now and will
comment on it on the other list.

And apologies for 'spamming' the DNS List to everyone, I did not know of
the list you mentioned Josh and looked at all the other Apnic and kind
lists that I am subscribed to and thought that this was the most
appropriate list due to the internet hosts that are supplying some the
said content in these scams. Again my apologies to the list members.

Again many thanks.


Stephen Edgar

-----Original Message-----
From: dns-bounces+stephen=netweb.com.au&#167;dotau.org
[mailto:dns-bounces+stephen=netweb.com.au&#167;dotau.org] On Behalf Of Josh
Sent: Sunday, 2 July 2006 10:44 AM
To: .au DNS Discussion List; link&#167;anu.edu.au
Subject: Re: [DNS] DC Marketing SMS Scamming & Spamming

Good Morning Stephen,

I'm not sure if this topic fits with the charter of the .au DNS list

The Link mailing list (http://mailman.anu.edu.au/mailman/listinfo/link)
is probably more appropriate forum to discuss this topic.  I have copied
this email to the Link list.

DCITA recently conducted a review of the spam act

The report on the Spam Act 2003 review is available here:

The report discusses the coverage of premium service messages and
"mobile call back spam" under the Spam Act, see below:

" ... 

Issue: Coverage of premium service messages

In late 2005 and early 2006 a range of media sources were reporting
instances of consumers receiving unwanted premium-rate SMS messages.14
These reports suggest that some marketing messages have misled consumers
into signing up for a service to receive messages they believe they did
not consent to.

Mobile phones are increasingly being used to target commercial services
to consumers.
The mobile content industry is making a number of services available for
delivery to mobile phones to value-add to the product, such as mobile
phone ringtones and wallpapers as well as services designed to entertain
the mobile phone owner, including chat services, sports scores, games
and news updates. These services are available through a variety of
pricing packages and contractual arrangements.

There is a question of whether the Spam Act applies to premium service
SMS messages.
SMS messages which contain a commercial offer, advertisement or
promotion are clearly covered by the Spam Act. Messages that are not
seeking to market a product or a service are not covered. For example,
an unwanted message that is sent containing a horoscope as part of a
premium service, charged at $4 per message, will not be covered by the
Act (in most circumstances). This is because the content of the SMS
itself is the horoscope, which is an actual product, and not a marketing

SMS accounts for approximately 10 per cent of all formal complaints
about spam received by ACMA. However, the proportion of complaints that
relate to SMS has been rising steadily for the last eighteen months.
ACMA reports that consumers seem to find SMS spam more offensive and
intrusive than email spam. ACMA also notes that consumer complaints are
increasingly concerned with the delivery of premium mobile services such
as mobile phone ringtones.

Several submissions suggest that the Spam Act should have application to
premium-rate mobile services.

The AAPT submission is concerned that:
...many instances of spam, where consumers are sent messages purporting
to be from friends and which actually end up with the consumer
unknowingly subscribing to a premium service, is seen by many even
within the telecommunications industry as "unacceptable behaviour which
misleads people into signing up to costly subscription services". In our
opinion, this is spam.

The ACA also suggests that the Act should apply to premium-rate SMS
We have been advised by officers of the Australian Communications and
Media Authority that they do not consider premium mobile service
messages which are not marketing messages to be within the definition of
commercial electronic message. An example of such a message is an
unsolicited "chat" message or an information message received on a
mobile phone.
The problem appears to be that these messages are not an offer to supply
goods or services, investment opportunities and so on, but are in fact
the service itself. The definition of commercial electronic message
should be broadened to include messages the sending of which is itself
the provision of a service.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) also notes
the issue of consumers signing up to premium services and accepting to
receive future premium SMS products and services without fully
understanding the terms and conditions of the service:

Such examples may be considered by consumers to be "spam". In each case,
CSPs16 bear significant costs in investigating whether a particular
"spam" complaint does in fact involve a
UCEM.17 Given the confusion, it is not surprising that only a small
number of "spam" allegations reported by customers are actually UCEMs.

Another issue of concern to consumers is that of "mobile call back"
marketing, in which a consumer re-dials the number of a missed call on
their mobile phone, and is greeted with a recorded message revealing a
prize is available if further steps are taken (such as signing up to a
premium content service).

EFA highlights the need to clarify the application of the Act to these
missed call marketing approaches. CAUBE also suggests that this practice
should be covered by the Spam Act.

DCITA Comments

SMS messages which contain a commercial offer, advertisement or
promotion are clearly covered by the Spam Act. A premium service
product, such as a message containing a mobile phone ringtone, or a
message that is not seeking to market a product or a service, is not
covered by the Act. Some premium service SMS messages may be covered by

Spam Act. However, the assessment of whether the message or any message
in a series of messages received is classified as a commercial message
under the Act would have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Other legislated consumer protection measures are in place to address
false or misleading conduct in relation to the marketing of premium
service messages.

There are a number of provisions in Part V of the Trade Practices Act
that address unfair trading practices that may be associated with
misleading practices associated with premium rate SMS messages. These
include the prohibitions on misleading and deceptive conduct, false
representations, asserting the right to payment for unsolicited goods or
services, and falsely offering gifts and prizes.

ACMA is currently working with industry on a number of initiatives to
address issues associated with the advertising and provision of mobile
premium services, including SMS.  These initiatives are further detailed
in Chapter 13 - Role of industry.

In reference to mobile call back marketing, ACMA has advised that it has
referred complaints about such marketing practices to the Telephone
Information Services Standards Council, which then works with the
company to amend its practices in relation to advising consumers of the
terms and conditions of the service. This marketing approach is also
being considered in the development of the Do Not Call Register.

Due to the different way in which these new methods of mobile
communication are developing, it is not always clear to the consumer
which enforcement agency is responsible for handling premium-rate mobile
and SMS complaints. The ACCC has developed a number of consumer
advisories relating to premium SMS issues18 and the ACMA webpage also
contains some useful consumer information (www.acma.gov.au/spam). It is
clear that further efforts are required to educate industry about best
practice in advising consumers of terms and conditions associated with
premium services, and consumers require further guidance on their
responsibilities under these contracts.

The issue of consumer advice is further discussed in Chapter 12 -
Education and Awareness. It is anticipated that further consumer
materials will be made available as the industry-led initiatives
develop. Industry measures are further discussed in Chapter 13.

... "



On Sat, Jul 01, 2006 at 09:55:19PM +1000, Stephen Edgar wrote:
> I would like to bring this to the attention of the [DNS] DotAU Mailing

> list - I have also sent a copy to Josh Rowe and David Goldstein hoping

> we can all publish as much information as possible to rid us of this 
> scam and spam.
> A company by the name of DC Marketing has been operating various 
> Mobile Phone Scams to Mobile Phone users here in Australia.
> They have 3 scams.
> 1.       The first was sending un-solicited Premium SMS Messages to
> mobile customers charging them $4 a shot.
> 2.       The second is a ring once and hang up hoping that the user
> calls back the number which they are then asked to call a premium 1902

> number to claim the lucky prize they have won at a charge of $15 for 
> $40 worth of content. (This has been checked by TISSC and although 
> deceptive it was found to offer what is said)
> 3.       The third and most recent is sending MMS messages over GPRS
> mobile users offering content downloads from an internet site hosted 
> in Australia.
> There will be a great deal of new information posted at 
> http://www.4wisemonkeys.com that state what the 3 scams are in detail.
> *
> http://www.4wisemonkeys.com/archives/2006/07/01/dc-marketing-scam-numb
> er
> -2-ring-once-and-hangup/
> *
> http://www.4wisemonkeys.com/archives/2006/07/01/dc-marketing-scam-numb
> er
> -1-premium-sms-scam/
> *
> http://www.4wisemonkeys.com/archives/2006/07/01/dc-marketing-scam-numb
> er -3-premium-content-delivered-via-gprs/
> The site will also be showing the 'domain names' and 'hosting
> used by this company for their un-solicited spam and scam techniques.
> I fully realise that this list is for internet related issues and this

> is mainly on mobile services, though the content and links that are 
> being used in these scams are coming from data hosted and served on 
> Australian Hosting Services and as the telephony companies have chosen

> to ignore this company for many various reasons I think that we can do

> something in regard to the internet sites that this is being used and 
> routed through.
> I would ask that the valuable internet community here in the DNS list 
> and various Apnic Mailing lists we can draw upon the resources and 
> contacts that many of us have available to us and do whatever we can 
> to rid the country of DC Marketing and their spamming and scamming
> Anyone who has been affected by this scam is actively being asked to 
> submit a complaint to the Australian Media and Communications 
> Authority
> Australian Communications and Media Authority
> Reporting, complaints and enquiries
> http://www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER.786552:STANDARD::pc=PC_1970
> Australian Communications and Media Authority
> Online reporting form
> https://web.acma.gov.au/secure/complaint_form.htm
> If you have had any Mobile Spam Messages or 'Ring Once' pranks to your

> Mobile phone (And any other spam) I strongly urge you to fill out this

> form so we can help gather as much information as possible on scams of

> this nature and rid the country of them.
> Regards,
> Stephen Edgar

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Received on Sun Jul 02 2006 - 01:35:22 UTC

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