Yahoo sues 'lottery' spammers; Good luck collecting

Yahoo sues 'lottery' spammers; Good luck collecting

Summary: Yahoo said Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against "Yahoo! Lottery Spammers" for launching a scam where users are convinced that they won a prize from the company.


Yahoo said Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against "Yahoo! Lottery Spammers" for launching a scam where users are convinced that they won a prize from the company.

The lawsuit is the latest filed under the Federal CAN-SPAM Act. Yahoo filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York under the Federal Trademark Act and other state laws too.

Yahoo's lawsuit comes just a few weeks after MySpace won a $230 million award against well-known spammer Stanford Wallace. However, Yahoo will have a tough time collecting. The Yahoo! Lottery Spammers gang is a group of unknown criminals aka "Defendants XYZ Companies" and "John/Jane Does." In its complaint (download PDF), Yahoo says it is hoping to get some help identifying these spammers:


According to Yahoo:

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.

That sounds great but it's highly unlikely Yahoo will get anywhere with this suit.

How can you demand a jury trial when you open a complaint with this?


Who exactly will round up these anonymous people?

I'd love to be more constructive about these spam lawsuits, but it's so tough to nail these criminals. Simply put, you're on your own against many of these spammers. Fortunately for you if you know how to spell you can avoid a lot of these scams. Check out exhibit A in the spammers can't spell files:


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  • Spammers

    Why go after a spammer they have probably no chance of catching. The have plenty of spammers on there chat network and game rooms that post links to there sites every day
  • Defending your copyright

    Doesn't a company have an obligation to defend their copyrighted property? Granted, this effort isn't going to be the sole tool that will stop all this nonsense, but I see nothing wrong with incorporating this into a multi-pronged effort to crack down on spammers and their misuse of Yahoo's name.
  • Why can't they trace the money?

    There is something I don't understand about the whole phishing scam. No money physically changes hands -- everything is electronic. So you would think it would be possible to set up special accounts for the sole purpose of having them looted, and then trace where the money goes and who ends up with it.

    Since such accounts would not actually involve real people, there would be no privacy concerns, and financial institutions which refused to cooperate in tracing the cash flow could be threatened with sanctions. Do this repeatedly and I would think it should be fairly easy to nail whoever ended up with the cash!
    • The same reason...

      The same reason that the credit card companies don't assist in shutting the Viagra and other scam spams -- because THEY MAKE BILLIONS of dollars processing all these transactions.

      How hard would it be:

      1. Get a spam email.
      2. Place the order with a specially set-up credit card account.
      3. Track the money.
      4. Prosecute everyone involved -- especially anyone in the money chain who is not cooperative.

      If spammers had no way to get paid - they'd move on to something else. Problem is that they ARE able to work through banks and credit card companies seemingly unhindered.

      And don't think it is the Russians or Chinese doing this -- Russians and Chinese can't get merchant accounts in the first place.
      Marty R. Milette
  • I hope they get castrated

    That would be one of the best things to do to those scumbags sP/Cammers
  • I wonder who actually thought this was legit?

    Wow, I've seen lots of phishing attempts, and this one has to be one of the easiest to spot that I've ever seen.

    "One million United State dollars". That's a good one.

    "You won 1,0 00.000.00 Dollars!" I just love this.

    And I'm sure Yahoo! writes lots of million-dollar checks from its Bangkok Branch Office.

    Then again, I know several people who would at very least click on a link from a message like this.
  • Money trail....hmmm...

    These spammers seem dumb enough, I wonder if anyone looked into the address at the bottom. Maybe Yahoo! should <b>Google</b> it... ;-)
  • They will be caught, same punishment that we deal out to...

    ...Viacom! Castration/Jail/Death. Show no mercy.
  • They will be caught, same punishment that we deal out to...

    Castration/Jail/Death. Show No Mercy. Viva la Revolucion!
  • Yahoo could find spammers if they wanted

    ...just offer a monetary reward...
  • RE: Yahoo sues 'lottery' spammers; Good luck collecting

    are you sure your telling us right or did yahoo find a new way to create a not so insant win law suit should have named Joe blow from windy city,instead of xyz people at least it would look better on paper. heck,i get a lot of emails claiming that i won one million and a half dollars from a corporation or on line lotto agency money awarded in british pounds payable in us funds. the one i liked is from this woman named "desir'e" yea she has 12+ million dollars and she wants me to put it in my bank acccount and move her here to us,and that I'll get 30% of the money for my time and trouble.I printed all those type of letters out there is quite a lot even from sheiks. so wheni need a good pick me up i read those why is yahoo filing suit against unknown persons,god only knows.It is known as the golden parashoot clause the ceo wont be feeling so guilty getting his millions in pay and stock options.besides their lawyers work on retainer give them something to do. It is money miss spent.
    • Funny...

      This is my most recent one like the above:

      "Hello Dear,
      My name is Stella Collins I hope this mail finds you well & healthy and i hope we can established a relationship since we are meeting for the first time,i have gone through fasting and prayers asking God to lead me to a trust worthy person who will help me with this transaction and it interests me to contact you aftter my prayers for an assistance to help me transfer this Sum of 10.7 Million USA dollars my father deposited in a bank here in Cote d'Ivoire before he was assasinated.i
      like honesty,trust,love,truth,caring,& respect,i have all this qualities in me and i believe you have all this qualities too, that is why i decided to contact you for this transaction,i will like you to contact me as soon as possible so that we can know ourselves better.
      Thanks and hoping to hear from you

      Miss Stella Collins"

      And the sending address?

      So when I asked her when Japan was Annexed by The Ivory Coast, she was SURPRISINGLY quiet. I did congratulate her/him on being the first one to send me an example of the nigerian banking scam, though! :)
  • RE: Yahoo sues 'lottery' spammers; Good luck collecting , Joany lam from China Levin Crafts & gifts manufacturer.

    yes,I did have got the above mail and found that it is really funny, I tell her/him that I can get help, but please transfer very small part of money to me for applying the visa from her/him, in fact, I know that he/she is a cheater. Lolo~~~