Amazon and Microsoft file phishing, spamming lawsuits

Phishing trips wind up in court

Microsoft and Amazon.com filed one joint and several separate lawsuits last week against companies and individuals, accusing them variously of trying to defraud consumers by imitating Amazon and Microsoft, according to the companies.

Phishing typically uses spamming techniques to send millions of email messages disguised to look like they come from a reputable source, such as an e-commerce site or bank. The email usually tries to persuade its recipient to visit an equally official-looking website to confirm their password or credit card number by typing into the site.

The joint lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Seattle against Gold Disk Canada, located in Ontario, and alleges the company is responsible for sending millions of deceptive email messages, including email forgeries falsely purporting to have come from Amazon.com, Hotmail.com and other domains, the two companies said in a statement.

Amazon.com also filed three lawsuits in Seattle against unidentified defendants for their alleged involvement in phishing schemes targeted at its customers, the company says.

Microsoft says it also filed a lawsuit against Leonid ("Leo") Radvinsky and his companies, Activsoft and Cybertania, and several other unidentified defendants, against whom Amazon.com had filed suit in August 2003.

The Microsoft lawsuit alleges that Radvinsky sent millions of illegal and deceptive email messages to Hotmail customers including messages that were falsely labeled as coming from Amazon.com.

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