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Yahoo awarded $610 million in judgment against spammers

spam, phishing, securityYahoo was awarded $610 million by a federal district court judge in New York earlier this week in a judgment against spammers who operated a fake Yahoo lottery email scheme.

The scheme involved sending emails to people telling them they’d hit the jackpot in a lottery supposedly run by Yahoo.

Though the defendants in the case were not named, AP reports that the original lawsuit, which was filed three years ago, alleged that a group of Nigerian and Thai scammers had devised the ruse in an effort to get hold of personal data such as passwords, social security numbers and credit card details.

In a statement issued by Yahoo on Wednesday, the web company said that $27 million of the $610 million judgment was for trademark infringement, while the remaining $583 million was for violating the Can-Spam Act.

In its complaint, Yahoo said that over 11.6 million scam lottery emails were sent from December 2006 to May 2009. It’s not clear how many people, if any, were fooled by the scam, though with that many emails being sent out, there were probably a fair few who were deceived.

“Yahoo takes the protection of its users and its brand very seriously,” Christian Dowell, Yahoo’s legal director of global brand protection, said in the statement. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that users continue to trust Yahoo as the leading US email provider.”

Although Yahoo was awarded a tidy sum by the court, it’ll probably be left twiddling its thumbs, rather like the recipients of the ‘jackpot winning’ emails. Getting money from perpetrators after a court award such as this can be a long drawn out affair that ultimately ends in failure.

The company ended its statement by highlighting its continuing push to fight spam and phishing scams, details of which can be found at http://antispam.yahoo.com.

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