TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: FTC Sues Companies For Selling Phone Records

FTC Sues Companies For Selling Phone Records

Reuters News Wire (
Wed, 3 May 2006 11:55:08 -0500

U.S. authorities said on Wednesday they had filed suit against five
online companies, charging they had illegally sold confidential phone

The Federal Trade Commission said it is asking a court to bar the sale
of the phone records and force the companies to give up the money they
made with their operations.

"Trafficking in consumers' confidential telephone records is
outrageous," FTC consumer protection chief Lydia Parnes said in a
statement. "It robs consumers of their privacy and exposes them to
everything from snoops to stalkers."

The FTC lawsuits come amid a wave of concerns about Web sites that
offer to get consumers' phone records. Investigations are also under
way by the Federal Communications Commission and states' attorneys

In addition, lawmakers in Congress are considering measures to impose
tougher penalties on the practice.

In the lawsuits announced on Wednesday, the FTC charged the companies
used "false pretenses, fraudulent statements, fraudulent or stolen
documents or other misrepresentations, including posing as a customer
of a telecommunications carrier" to get the phone records.

The companies advertised on their Web sites that they could get the
confidential phone records of any individual and make them available
for a fee, the agency said.

One of the companies, Integrity Security & Investigations Services
Inc., based in Yorktown, Virginia, also sold consumers' financial
records, including credit-card information, the FTC said.

Other companies and their principals named in the FTC suits were: 77
Investigations Inc., and Reginald Kimbro, based in Upland, California;
AccuSearch Inc., doing business as, and Jay Patel, based in
Cheyenne, Wyoming; CEO Group Inc., doing business as Check Em Out, and
Scott Joseph, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Information
Search Inc., and David Kacala, based in Baltimore, Maryland.

CEO Group President Scott Joseph told Reuters he had not yet had time
to review the suit and could not comment.

Information Search's David Kacala disputed that he had illegally sold
such records, saying the dispute was over information on his company's
Web site. "Basically it's charging me with advertising," he told

Attempts to contact Integrity Security, 77 Investigations, AccuSearch,
Kimbro and Patel were not immediately successful.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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