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FTC Goes After Spammers 166

Posted by timothy
from the not-enough-iron-in-that-velvet-glove dept.
klaun writes: "Yahoo has an article about the FTC launching a crackdown on deceptive unsolicited email. Basically they are after scammers offering easy money quick, not the average 'get porn here' type of spam. There is more info at the in a press release at the FTC's website." TheGreatGraySkwid amplifies, saying that this story "tells of an FTC crackdown on Spammers, that had resulted in charges (settled) against 7 chain-letter ring spammers, and several pending cases. I know I could use some Spam relief..." The settlement, unfortunately, isn't exactly stern stuff: the seven spammers "agreed to refrain from participating in deceptive schemes in the future, or lying about the legality or potential earnings from any such schemes."
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FTC Goes After Spammers

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  • For the lazy (Score:3, Informative)

    by NewbieSpaz (172080) <nofx_punkguy AT linuxmail DOT org> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @05:36PM (#2996365) Homepage
    FTC Launches 'Spam' E-Mail Crackdown
    By Andy Sullivan

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal regulators kicked off a crackdown on the junk e-mail known as ``spam'' on Tuesday with an announcement that they had settled charges against seven people accused of running an e-mail pyramid scheme.

    The Federal Trade Commission said that the seven defendants had participated in a chain-letter scam that promised returns of up to $46,000 for a $5 payment. Such chain letters are illegal in the U.S.

    The chain letter eventually drew in more than 2,000 participants from nearly 60 countries, the FTC said.

    While the consumer-protection agency has targeted some 200 Internet-based scams over the past several years, it has not until now gone after spam.

    FTC Chairman Timothy Muris said the agency now had e-mail scams in its sights.

    ``We're going after deceptive spam and the people who send it. We want it off the Net,'' Muris said at a press conference.

    The agency plans to settle several more cases within six months, said Eileen Harrington, the FTC's assistant director of marketing practices.

    Spam has long been a hot-button issue for Internet users, who often find their inboxes clogged with unsolicited offers for pornography, fake diplomas, and get-rich-quick schemes.

    Internet users received an average of 571 pieces of unsolicited commercial e-mail in 2001, a number expected to rise to nearly 1,500 by 2006, according to Jupiter Media Metrix.

    Nineteen states have passed anti-spam laws, but attempts to pass a national law have stumbled over opposition from direct marketers who say their activities would be unfairly limited.

    FTC officials said they will go after spam using existing laws that prohibit false or deceptive trade practices.

    In addition to chain letters, pyramid schemes and other scams, the agency will target spammers who use deceptive return addresses or do not respond to consumer requests to be taken off their contact lists, said Howard Beales, head of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

    Spammers are not likely to face jail time or large fines from FTC actions. In deceptive-trade cases, the agency can usually only force companies to give back profits and pursue ''structural'' remedies that modify future behavior.

    The seven spammers, who had been sent letters of warning by the FTC in September 2000, agreed to refrain from participating in deceptive schemes in the future, or lying about the legality or potential earnings from any such schemes. In addition, the defendants must return any money they take in from the chain letter in the future, can not share their lists of recruits, and must submit to FTC oversight of their actions.

    Some 2,000 other participants in the chain letter received a warning letter from the consumer-protection agency.

    While the FTC is preparing a national ``do not call'' list for telemarketers, a ``do not spam'' list would probably not be effective, Harrington said.

    Harrington said Web users should forward spam to the FTC for analysis, using the e-mail address uce+ftc.gov. The agency has amassed a database of 8.5 million spam messages, and takes in an additional 10,000 per day, she said.
  • I'll believe it... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Heem (448667) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @05:41PM (#2996401) Homepage Journal
    I'll believe it when my junk email is reduced by even 1% over the course of a month. Even without engaging in 'spam-risky' internet behaviour, ie - using real email address on newsgroups, web boards, signing up for free porn etc, I get a very large load of spam daily. One program that has been great is Mailwasher [mailwasher.net]. This little utility allows you to bounce, blacklist and delete your spam before you download the actual message from your server. I then monthly take the blacklist it generates and add the email address or sometimes a whole domain to my email servers reject file... But still spammers get craftier and craftier. If only I could make a filter that would filter out anything like 12k3jhk213 and asdfl231.. hmm..

  • by Maditude (473526) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @05:49PM (#2996463)
    Here's a decent article [startribune.com] article about how, even when someone DOES successfully sue a spammer, trying to collect is pretty hopeless. (Not too surprising that spammers aren't exactly rolling in cash)...
  • Here you go: (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrroot (543673) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @05:51PM (#2996473)
    Defendants in the FTC cases are: Paul K. Boivin, also known as Paul Bowen, Paul Boevien, Paul Bowvien, and Paul Brown; doing business as (DBA) Destiny 1999, Destiny 2000, and Destiny 2001. The defendant is based in Clearwater, Florida and the case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. Chad Estenson and Megan Estenson, DBA CMJ Enterprises and Rockin' E Marketing. The defendants are based in Warwick, North Dakota, and the case was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota. Fernando Pacheco, also known as Frank Pacheco, DBA E-Solutions and E-Solutions 101. The defendant is based in North Providence, Rhode Island and the case was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Arnold W. Larsen, also known as Arnold Larson. The defendant is based in Sarasota, Florida, and the case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. John Lutheran. The defendant is based in San Diego, California. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Dario Va. The defendant is based in Weston, Florida. The case was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
  • Re:Slap on the Wrist (Score:5, Informative)

    by Misch (158807) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @05:57PM (#2996506) Homepage

    Actually, we do have something very similar (sans fines), it's called Spamhaus [spamhaus.org]. It collects evidence of spamming by companies, finds those companies that own those netblocks, and lists the top spam-friendly hosts in the ISP business.

    Sitting at the top of the list is media3, which hosts 5 known spammers has known about them for at least 2,163 operational days (operational days for all 5 spam sources), and acts covertly to support them. Their "score" is thus listed as 5*2163*4 = 42,720, nearly 8 times more than the closest spammers. If you want your spam to decrease significantly, you gotta take out those spammers at the top right at their source.

    -Misch

  • But ebay and amazon AREN'T spam. Those are opt-in lists. They also honor opt-out lists. If ebay and amazon sold their contact list, ignoring any opt-out lists, THEN they are contributing to spam, if not nessacaraly sending it themselves. I have some bunk email addresses that I have for public use, and some specific email addresses for mailing lists, and 2 or 3 for private use. I can determine where the spam is comming from based on that, and assist the mailing lists with tracking down the culprit. OR I can just set up a new email address, and change my subscribe address. I have had 2 or more email address for quite a while, at least one for public (email lists, slashdot, contact for e-stores) and one private (personal friends, etc).
  • by EvilGwyn (120620) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:48PM (#2997242) Homepage
    They all accept mail before determining whether it can be delivered

    You forgot to add the "by default". It is possible to set up an exchange system so that it will not relay and will send a 550 back after looking at the RCPT TO: line.

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