Yahoo sues 'lottery' spammers; Good luck collecting

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:

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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?

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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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