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The FTC has helped bust one of the largest spam groups in the world

The U.S. government has helped break up one of the largest organized spam rings in the world, which was responsible for sending billions of unsolicited e-mails.  

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than 3 million complaints from internet users who received the spam e-mails tied to the group.

HerbalKing, promoting weight-loss drugs, male enhancement pills and prescription drugs, operated in the United States, China, New Zealand, and other nations, the U.S. government said.  Credit card transactions were processed in Cyprus and Georgia, and all products were shipped from India and China, with Chinese web servers used to host each web site.

According to the FTC investigation, the group received $400,000 in Visa credit card charges in a single month.  The government has asked a federal district court in the city of Chicago to freeze the ring's bank accounts, after accusing HerbalKing of violating the Can-Spam Act of 2003.

The FTC made purchases from the web sites, and discovered that they were not forced to provide prescription verification, and none of the drugs shipped to customers had instructions or dosage information.

The group's largest botnet, Mega-D, had 35,000 zombie PCs capable of sending 10 billion e-mail messages per day, according to security firm Marshal Software.

Roland Smits and Shane Atkinson of Christchurch, and Lance Atkinson of Pelican Waters, Queensland, Australia, along with Jody Smith of Texas, are named in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. government.  The cases are now pending in the U.S. federal court and New Zealand High Court.

It has been harder to crack down on spam, especially as many spammers become more organized at sending spam offering fake products.  Estimates indicate as much as 90 percent of all e-mail sent across the world is spam.

More organized spam ring leaders are forced to shut down, pay fines and sometimes go to jail, but the government-led effort has done little to curb the growing spam problem.

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RE: Proof the SPAM works
By JediJeb on 10/15/2008 9:46:47 AM , Rating: -1
The only real way to stop it would be to charge per email. I think I could pay $0.01 per email, that would be less than $1 per month for all of mine, but for a spammer sending a billion emails that would be $10,000,000 That should be enough reason to stop.

RE: Proof the SPAM works
By elpresidente2075 on 10/15/2008 10:55:34 AM , Rating: 5
If only you had an understanding of how email works...

RE: Proof the SPAM works
By Dribble on 10/15/2008 11:32:09 AM , Rating: 3
Not the first time something like that has been suggested. All people not on your favourites must pay a nominal amount to be able to put email in your inbox - sounds like a reasonable idea to me, and not impossible to implement.
The other idea that has been mentioned was something that took processing power - i.e. to get the email in the inbox the sending computer has to do a little sum, again designed to lower the amount of email a machine could send.

RE: Proof the SPAM works
By murphyslabrat on 10/16/2008 7:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Proof the SPAM works
By amanojaku on 10/15/2008 1:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
Are you insane? Free mail is free, and mail you have to pay for has a flat fee. If someone wants to pay a metered rate for mail that person is more than welcome, but I'M not doing it.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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