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Sprint Nextel Targets Florida Pretexter

Sprint Nextel took a number at the courthouse Monday to become the latest phone company to sue an alleged pretexter, people who impersonate another in order to illegally obtain confidential phone data.

The suit filed in Florida targets a private investigation firm that Sprint Nextel claims employs deceptive practices to illegitimately obtain customer call records and then sells the information to online brokers.

Sprint Nextel has requested both temporary and permanent injunctions against the investigative firm of San Marco & Associates of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"As we dig deeper into the origins of this fraud, we've determined that, in some cases, companies with no Internet presence whatsoever are handling the dirty work for these online operations," Kent Nakamura, vice president for telecom management and chief privacy officer for Sprint Nextel, said in a statement.

With the suit, Sprint Nextel continues its pursuit of pretexters, who are also at the heart of proposed federal legislation to stop online sites from selling confidential phone records. Phone companies maintain their systems are secure with the information being obtained through pretexting.

Sprint Nextel has previously secured a permanent injunction against First Source Information Specialists based on a complaint similar to Monday's lawsuit against San Marcos.

First Source is the parent company of Locatecell.com and Datafind.org, which have also been named in various congressional investigations into online brokers selling phone data. As a result of the lawsuit, First Source is barred from attempting to obtain, sell or distribute call records belonging to Spring Nextel customers.

AT&T and Verizon have filed similar lawsuits against pretexters.

Sprint Nextel also has an outstanding complaint against All Star Investigations, a company believed to own and/or operate OnlinePI.com, Allstarinvestigations.com, Detectivesusa.com, Miamiprotection.com and Privatedetectivesusa.com.

"We indicated previously that we would take any action necessary to eliminate this threat, and we are following through on that promise to our customers," Nakamura said.

Two committees of the U.S. House of Representatives have approved bills aimed at online brokers selling confidential phone records. The U.S. Senate is also considering legislation.