Yahoo! files lawsuit against spam artists


28 May 2008

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Internet search company Yahoo! is taking the cudgel to spammers. The company is filing a lawsuit against ‘Yahoo! Lottery Spammers’ for sending fraudulent emails.

Yahoo! filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City. The spammers send emails to internet users with the purpose of deceiving them into believing they have won a lottery or prize offered by Yahoo!.

The complaint alleges that without permission or authorisation, and with full knowledge and notice of Yahoo!’s trademark rights, the spammers willfully masqueraded as Yahoo!, and sent emails claiming that the recipient had won a lottery, prize or other award from Yahoo!.

This type of phishing scam aims to trick recipients into divulging valuable personal data like passwords, credit card numbers and social security numbers to the fraudsters.

“Yahoo! is 100pc committed to protecting our users from fraudulent email messages and this lawsuit sends a clear message to spammers,” said John Kremer, vice-president, Yahoo! Mail. “We are going after individuals who have attempted to negatively impact the email experience for consumers across the internet. Through our continued litigation efforts, our top goal and priority is to further protect Yahoo! Mail users and the public from this type of fraudulent activity.”

“The unauthorised use of Yahoo!’s trademarks is misleading, fraudulent, and has actually confused, misled and deceived the public. Yahoo! will vigorously enforce its IP rights and will not tolerate lottery hoax emails,” added Joe Siino, senior vice-president, Yahoo! global IP and business strategy.

Yahoo! said this case, as well as previous litigation efforts, are a part of Yahoo!’s multi-faceted approach to fighting spam and email fraud, which also includes the use of advanced technologies, industry collaboration and raising consumer awareness of email fraud.

Earlier this month, a Los Angeles court awarded MySpace record damages of US$230m against a team of internet spammers that sent junk email to members of the social networking site.

By Niall Byrne