Ever receive a spam text message saying you’ve won a free iPhone, a free iPad or perhaps a free $1000 Target gift card? If you have, you’re not alone. Just recently, a man was busted for sending more than 20 million of these scam texts. Needless to say, those free Apple iPads and iPhones didn’t actually exist.

The Federal Trade Commission has really been cracking down on phone-related scams lately, and this is another big bust for the organization. The so-called “Internet marketer” got a way with nearly $70,000 before the authorities caught up to him.


“Online Marketing” at Its Worst

This audacious scammer, Henry Nolan Kelly, may very well be the worst “Internet marketer” in the history of the Internet. The FTC recently figured out that he had been sending spam text messages to unsuspecting consumers, telling them that they were eligible to win a handy free iPhone or iPad.

Apple products definitely carry with them a certain degree of prestige, which may be how Kelly was able to keep getting away with this scam for so long. Says The Next Web:

“[It’s] frustrating for both the [FTC] and affected Americans given that Kelly made exactly $60,950 in connection with his text message spamming scam. Instead, the scammer has been simply ordered to cooperate with the FTC in future investigations.”

If you’re wondering as to whether or not you read that correctly, you did.

Kelly didn’t have to pay back the money that he stole, because he didn’t actually have any of the money to pay back.


“No More Doing Illegal Things, Henry Nolan Kelly,” Says the FTC

Since Kelly couldn’t pay the fine that he was slapped with, you’d think maybe he’d see some jail time or have to perform some community service.

Instead, the FTC‘s punishment is that… Kelly isn’t allowed to do illegal things anymore. Which seems odd to anyone who’s already not breaking the law.

A color photo of two iPads.

Needless to say, the free iPads advertised by this scammer didn’t actually exist in the first place.

The stipulations of Kelly’s settlement dictate that he’s not allowed to send unsolicited text messages. He also can’t tell consumers that they’ve won stuff if they haven’t actually won that stuff, and he’s not allowed to lie about when things are free.

Again…you’re really not allowed to do any of those things in the first place, which makes this case a little frustrating when one considers how easily Kelly’s actually getting off.


Protect You Phone from Spam and the Like

A color photo of a woman looking at her cell phone.

It’s wise to only click links from trusted senders when you’re dealing with text messages.

Making sure that your phone doesn’t get sent spammy text messages like this is actually pretty simple. We’re often asked for our personal information, which then ends up on a list purchased by scammers like Kelly.

Remember, don’t give your phone number out (ever) unless it’s to someone that you completely trust.

You can also take certain security measures to avoid having spam sent to your phones.

Do you have any tips for avoiding this type of scam? Let us know in the comments!


See Also

Free $1000 Walmart Gift Card Text Message Scam
Text Message Spam Class Action Settlement Get up to $100
TargetContests.com Update: What To Do If You Get this Gift Card Scam Text

About The Author

Sean Boulger is a freelance writer and storytelling enthusiast living in LA. He loves television, pop culture, minimalism, and two cats.

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