Yahoo today 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 said that it 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.