Computer Crime Research Center


AOL hunts phishers

Date: March 01, 2006
Source: Red Herring

America Online said Tuesday it has filed three civil lawsuits against three gangs that obtained private identity information of unsuspecting customers through online subterfuge.

That makes AOL, one of the pioneers of commercial Internet access, the first major U.S. portal to take legal action against phishing gangs. AOL filed the lawsuits against the groups it believes are located in Germany, Romania, and the United States.

AOL executives say they have thousands of emails used by the groups to lead web surfers to web sites that look like the sites of trusted firms such as AOL, only to fraudulently acquire private information such as credit card numbers and passwords from customers.

The fraudulent activity, called phishing, has drawn the attention of law enforcement and lawmakers all over the world.

The case will be filed under the federal Computer Fraud &Abuse Act, a 1984 law that has been amended to include spam and junk mail abuse. AOL also filed the suits under the Lanham Act, which contains federal statutes governing trademark law in the U.S. The law was updated last year.
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