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Yahoo! and MySpace Sue Scammers
Caroline Roberts

Caroline Roberts is the Special Events Coordinator for Overseas Subscribers Agents, and handles all of OSA's promotional activities, including the OSA Raffle.

By Caroline Roberts
Published on May 27, 2008

Here's some good news for us "scam-fighters".

Internet companies Yahoo! and MySpace have thrown their corporate hats into the ring in legal battles against spammers using their names for fraud.

In New York, web giant Yahoo! filed a lawsuit  against  a group called Yahoo Lottery Spammers on Tuesday for allegedly sending email messages to Yahoo! subscribers informing them that they had won a company lottery .  The email entitled recipients to certain prizes from  Yahoo!. 

 The emails were formatted to pass as official Yahoo! messages and asked the recipients to provide personal information such as account passwords and credit card information - supposedly for them to claim the prize winnings.

MySpace Receives $230m Payment from Scam Lawsuit

U.K.'s The Guardian said Yahoo! accused the spam group of fraudulent acts against their subscribers, as well as “the unauthorized use of Yahoo’s trademarks” in acts that have “confused, misled, and deceived the public,” as stated by Joe Siino, senior VP of global intellectual property and business strategy.

 In a statement, Yahoo! management also warned subscribers to be wary of  scam perpetrators, noting that the company “does not offer any such rewards” to its clients.  It also denounced any connections with the group, and restated their intention to protect subscribers from hoaxes and similar acts.

Yahoo! is not first corporate giant to take legal action against scammers. Just last week, popular social networking site MySpace,  was awarded $230 million after winning  an "unsolicited advertisement" case against a team of spammers at a  Los Angeles, California court. The settlement is said to be the largest amount ever awarded for a spam case.

According to MySpace, its subscribers received messages that appeared to have come from friends, with the emails urging the recipients to visit sites that were actually gambling or adult-rated websites.  The emails also contained a number of advertisements that, when clicked by the subscribers, gave a small fee to the perpetrators, Walter Rines and “spam king” Sanford Wallace, who according to The Guardian had run into conflict with authorities in the 1990s, when his spamming activities began with fax messages. 

 “MySpace has zero tolerance for those who attempt to act illegally on our site,” said chief security officer Hemanshu Nigam.  “We remain committed to punishing those who violate the law and try to harm our members.”

The messages were sent out to about 700,000 MySpace subscribers, with the spammers earning about $500,000 from the ads.

Reports say Wallace is one of the world's most prolific junk marketers, he was even given the nickname "Spamford" for his recurring trouble with the law. In the 1990s he progressed from circulating fax messages to sending internet spam and rose to prominence as the head of Philadelphia-based spam giant Cyber Promotions, The Guardian said.

So the next time you receive  scam emails from people pretending to be from a well-known company, or worse - if they're posing as OSA - please  contact our Help Desk  immediately at www.osalotteries.com/helpdesk or http://osalotteries.net

To view more scam samples or find additional information, OSA’s Scamwatch site  is at: http://osalotteries.net/scamwatch