FTC targets deceptive spam

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 12 state and local law enforcement officials have launched an initiative to fight fraudulent spam and Internet scams.

Yesterday, the FTC said in a statement that it had filed three more complaints against three spammers and settled with four others who used spam to promote chain e-mail schemes and were caught in an FTC sting.

In addition, the FTC said it has sent letters to 100 spammers who sent similar chain letter or pyramid scheme e-mails, warning them that those e-mails appear to be illegal and that law enforcement agencies could take action against them if they continued their fraudulent schemes.

Although sending spam isn't illegal in the U.S., the FTC monitors spammers to ensure that they don't engage in deceptive and unfair trade practices, which is illegal. The spammers sued by the FTC were all charged with breaking those laws.

Officials at the FTC couldn't be reached for further comment.

According to the agency, one defendant was charged with using deceptive spam, including the unauthorized use of logos of well-known financial institutions including The Prudential Bank and Trust Co. and Fannie Mae. The logos were used in spam allegedly designed to trick consumers into disclosing personal financial information.

According to the FTC, the spammer, whose name wasn't released, said he was offering consumers competitive refinancing and refinancing loans. The defendant also used a fake return address so that any undeliverable messages went to e-mail addresses that weren't affiliated with him, causing one unsuspecting e-mail user to be hit with more than 30,000 "do not spam me" e-mails intended for the defendant.

The FTC filed a lawsuit against NetSource One Inc. in Louisville, Ky., and James Haddaway, operating as WorldRemove, saying they used spam and the Internet to sell a service that allegedly reduced or eliminated spam from consumers' e-mail accounts. But an undercover investigation determined that a consumers actually received more spam after signing up for the service.

Haddaway couldn't be reached for comment.

The FTC charged four other spammers with sending illegal chain letters seeking money. Under a settlement reached with the FTC, those defendants have agreed not to participate in any illegal e-mail chain letter schemes in the future.

The FTC also said that 10 agencies have participated in its "Spam Harvest," an initiative designed to determine which actions consumers take online that put them most at risk for receiving spam.

Chris Hoofnagle, legislative counsel for the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, said that while it's good for the FTC to go after spammers who send fraudulent e-mails, the agency should do more to protect consumers against mainstream spammers.

He called on Congress to pass "opt-in" legislation for spammers, requiring them to get a user's permission before sending out spam e-mails. In addition, the legislation should require spammers to label their e-mails as advertisements.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Linda Rosencrance

Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?