As part of its continued commitment to protect Internet users from e-mail scams, Yahoo Inc. has announced the filing of a lawsuit against “Yahoo Lottery Spammers” for unlawfully sending e-mail messages to Internet users for the purpose of deceiving them into believing that they have won a lottery or prize offered by Yahoo!. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City, under the Federal Trademark Act, the Federal CAN-SPAM Act, and related state laws.
The complaint alleges that without permission or authorization, and with full knowledge and notice of Yahoo’s trademark rights, the spammers willfully masqueraded as Yahoo!, and sent e-mails claiming that the recipient had won a lottery, prize or other award from Yahoo!. Yahoo! does not offer any such awards and has no affiliation or any connection with the spammers or their e-mail communications.
This type of lottery scam is a hoax designed to trick unsuspecting e-mail users into revealing valuable personal data like passwords, credit card information, and social security numbers. Commonly known as a “phishing” scam, in this confidence game, perpetrators typically use the stolen information to access recipients’ bank accounts and credit cards, to apply for unauthorized credit cards or loans, or to fraudulently create documents bearing the victims’ personal identification and then use or sell it in a wide variety of credit and identity scams. Some of the “winners” are also deceived into sending the defendants money for processing and mailing charges.
“The unauthorized use of Yahoo!’s trademarks is misleading, fraudulent, and has actually confused, misled, and deceived the public. Yahoo will vigorously enforce its intellectual property rights and will not tolerate lottery hoax emails,” said Joe Siino, Senior Vice President, Yahoo! Global IP and Business Strategy.
“Yahoo is 100% committed to protecting our users from fraudulent e-mail 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 e-mail 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.”
Yahoo takes trademark infringement and the issue of e-mail scams very seriously. This case, as well as previous litigation efforts, are a part of Yahoo’s multi-faceted approach to fighting spam and e-mail fraud which also includes the use of advanced technologies, industry collaboration, and raising consumer awareness by providing Yahoo Mail users with detailed tips on how to avoid online scams at http://antispam.yahoo.com.
Yahoo Mail is the most popular Web mail service in the world with more than 260 millions users worldwide(1). Currently, Yahoo! blocks more than 1 billion spam and fraudulent e-mail messages per day from reaching the inboxes of Yahoo! Mail users.