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FTC Files Complaint Seeking to Halt Spam Promoting Fake Products

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has ordered Wyoming company on October 10, 2007 to stop sending bulk advertisement e-mails touting growth hormones and weight loss items, which also resulted in breach of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

At a workshop on October 10 in Arlington, Virginia, jointly conducted by the CNSA (Contact Network of Spam Authorities) of European Union and the LAP (London Action Plan), Platt Majoras, Chairman of FTC, announced that the commission has sued individuals and companies in Canada, the United States and Australia in an attempt to stop the distribution of e-mails that promoted anti-aging and weight loss products and also to prevent their future marketing. InformationWeek reported this on October 10, 2007.

The agency has enforced this action for the first time under the guidelines of the U.S. Safe Web Act that the Congress passed in 2006 to curb the increasing amount of spam. The act also allows enhanced sharing of information among the various law enforcement groups of the world and provides greater powers for investigation and law enforcement.

The FTC has charged Spear Systems along with individuals identified as Lisa Kimsey, Bruce Parker and Xavier Ratelle of conducting business under the name eHealthLife.com and spamming people with undesirable e-mail ads promoting human growth hormones such as HGHPlus and HGHLife and weight loss pills such as HoodiaPlus and HoodiaLife.

On October 10 2007, FTC said it got about 175,000 spam mails from Spear Systems.

Spear Systems claimed in its advertisements that by using its weight loss pills, a person could reduce weight by as much as 25 pounds in just one month. Also, its human growth hormone could delay aging and prevent hair loss. According to FTC, however, the products did not work.

The Vice-President of marketing at St. Bernard Software, Andrew Lochart, told SCMagazine on October 10, 2007 that spammers generally use large botnets to send out their junk e-mails. Lochart said that he was surprised that spammers were being found and arrested. The worms that convert PCs into botnets conceal the source of the spam so it can not be traced. Despite that, spammers are getting caught.

Related article: FTC Reaches Million-Dollar Settlement For Spyware

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