Friday, April 07, 2006

FTC Fines California Spam Group

The Federal Trade Commission fined a California company that was sending out millions of spam emails. The FTC working with the California Attorney General issued a 2.4 million dollar judgement against Optin Global, Inc., Vision Media Limited Corp., Qing Kuang “Rick” Yang, and Peonie Pui Ting Chen. During the investigation, the FTC received some 1.8 million email messages from the public as complaints.

In the complaint, the FTC said that the defendents sent emails that:

  • contained false or forged header information;
  • included deceptive subject headings;
  • failed to identify e-mail as advertisements or solicitations;
  • failed to notify consumers they had a right to opt out of receiving more e-mail;
  • failed to provide an opt-out mechanism;
  • failed to include a valid physical postal address.
These are in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act. If the defendants are found to violate it in the future, then additional action will be taken.

The FTC is the regulatory agency that covers spam, spywar, and any other Internet fraud. If you have a complaint against spammers, spyware makers, or online businesses, you can file a complaint. There is a web page on the FTC site to submit complaints. You can also call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) if you prefer. In addition to the FTC, there are several other ways to voice your complaints. The Center for Democracy and Technology has an online form for spyware that you can use to complain. Last, there is a new site set up by volunteers from many help forums that fight spyware to voice your complaints as well. Malware Complaints offers a way to share your thoughts about spyware, adware, and other Internet pests. This site is not just for the United States, but for many countries around the world.