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If you’re ever tempted to set up an SMS spamming scam, never under-estimate just how much it might cost you if the Australian Communications and Media Authority gets wind of it.

The Federal Court in Brisbane yesterday imposed $2 million in penalties against Scott Gregory Phillips in proceedings brought by the Australian Communications and Media Authority in relation to SMS spam.

This penalty is in addition to a cool $22.25 million imposed last year on four other people and three companies – once Hong Kong based – involved in the same “SafeDivert” scam, bringing the total amount of penalties to $24.25 million.

Phillips, along with the other seven, was involved in a scheme set up by two companies, Winning Bid and Mobilgate and an agent company Jobspy. The operators posted fake member profiles on dating Web sites to gather mobile phone numbers and lure men into paying up to $5 a message for SMS sex chat services. Unsolicited messages sent to these numbers offered SMS chat using services described as SafeDivert or Maybemeet.

The chat victims didn’t get to “chat” to genuine members of dating sites but to employees of Mobilegate and Winning Bid.

ACMA alleged that the scheme cost Australian mobile phone users in excess of $4 million. It’s got that back sixfold, though it’s unclear just how much, if any, will go to the victims.

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