District Attorney Targets “Spoofcard” Voicemail Sabotage

A New Jersey firm that provided customers unauthorized access to the cell phone voicemails of others through a software program called SpoofCard and two cellular providers agreed to permanent injunctions banning misrepresentations of cell phone security and the legality of the spoofing system.

The civil actions culminated an investigation by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation that began last year after a citizen complained of unauthorized cell phone voicemail access.

These cases illustrate how deeply new technology and misuse of it can affect the lives of consumers, said District Attorney Steve Cooley in a written statement. The software program that was advertised as ‘legal in 50 states’ was not legal in California and some other states.

Our investigators found that cellular providers who claimed their systems were safe from such sabotage were wrong, he added. Cell phones purchased by undercover investigators were easily hacked into, enabling the voicemail to be changed at will by use of the spoofing system.

Hacking into voicemail allowed messages to be changed or erased. Important information could be removed from the voicemail and phony information could be inserted. Imagine the havoc that could result, Cooley added.

The civil actions were settled without admissions of wrongdoing by the parties, said Deputy District Attorney Thomas R. Wenke of the Consumer Protection Division, who handled the cases against TelTech Systems Inc., doing business as SpoofCard, Love Detect and Liar Card; AT&T Mobility, LLC; and T-Mobile USA, Inc. All are Delaware corporations. TelTech is headquarted in New Jersey; AT&T Mobility in Atlanta, Georgia; and T-Mobile in Bellevue, Washington.

Wenke said the TelTech injunction prohibits misrepresentations about the legality of the use of TelTech technology. The AT&T and T-Mobile injunctions ban the firms from making specified misrepresentations about the security of their cell phone systems.

TelTech agreed to pay a total of $33,000 as investigation costs and civil penalties. AT&T agreed to pay a total of $59,300 and T-Mobile to $25,000. Investigators from both the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection and High Tech Crime divisions worked on the cases.

Wenke said the firms and their attorneys were cooperative in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution to the civil actions. Each of the firms has taken corrective action, he added.