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Spammers Charged Under US SAFE WEB Act, to Pay US$3.7 Million

An alleged international spam group has been asked by a US district court to give an amount of US$3.7 Million which they earned by circulating illegal spam e-mails, reported the PC World on July 3, 2009.

It is noted that St. Kitts and Canada based spammers sent spoof e-mails to netizens in an attempt to trick them to visit websites promoting the sales of hoodia gordonii plant extract, which they boasted helps significantly in weight-reduction.

According to the orders issued by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), besides weight loss, the spam e-mails also claimed that the plant extract would reverse the process of aging.

The FTC completely rejected these claims as false and baseless, and charged the accused people on account of violating the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) Act and the FTC Act.

The FTC also charged spammers for fake advertising and thus, breaking the federal law. FTC also claimed that the accused sent e-mails containing fake addresses as well as subject lines. Also, they could not provide an opt-out link or any postal address.

As per reports, the case that was filed in by the FTC in October 2007 is the first incident of invoking the US SAFE WEB (Undertaking Spam, Spyware, And Fraud Enforcement with Enforcers beyond Borders) Act by the agency. It is noted that the US SAFE WEB Act refers to a federal law drafted to safeguard people from cross-border Internet frauds, including spam. In this case, the spammers based in St. Kitts and Canada exploited the US netizens and thus, charged under this particular act.

At the beginning, 8 defendants were charged by the FTC, including a US-based company - Spear Systems, 3 other corporate defendants, and 4 individuals. However, in May 2008, three out of these defendants, i.e. 2 individuals (one in the US and the other in Australia) and Spear Systems, reached at a settlement with the FTC. The remaining five, who were not able to settle with FTC, have now been subjected to court orders.

Thus, the invoking of the US SAFE WEB Act by the FTC is an alert for spammers to immediately stop targeting the US citizens with their illegal activities or should be prepared to pay heavy price.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

» SPAMfighter News - 15-07-2009

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