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RealTime IT News

'Lonely Housewives' Reach FTC Settlement

A spam scam promising dates with lonely, if not quite desperate, housewives is among the latest unsolicited bulk e-mail schemes halted today by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

According to the FTC, Cleverlink Trading's lonely housewives spam violated almost every provision of the 2003 CAN SPAM Act and the operators agreed to forfeit $400,000 in profits.

The FTC complaint states that the spam contained misleading headers, deceptive subject lines, did not contain a valid physical postal address and did not disclose that the e-mail was sexually explicit.

It also included sexual materials in the initially viewable area of the e-mail, a violation of the FTC's Adult Labeling Rule.

Thursday's settlement also bars future violations of the CAN-SPAM Act and the Adult Labeling Rule in addition to extensive monitoring of Cleverlink Trading's affiliates for future violations.

In other cases announced Thursday, the FTC reached settlements with three other spammers.

The FTC charged Zachary Kinion with sending spam promoting adult sites, mortgage rates and privacy software while hiding his true originating address by routing his spam through the computers of innocent third parties.

He also paid other spammers to send spam messages for him.

The settlement bars Kinion from sending e-mails that contain false or misleading headers, misrepresent the subject matter of the message, fail to include an opt-out option, fail to include a postal address or fail to disclose the spam is an advertisement.

The FTC also imposed a judgment of $151,000 but suspended it because of Kinion's inability to pay.

William Dugger, Angelina Johnson and John Vitale also settled CAN SPAM charges with the FTC by agreeing to forfeit $8,000 in ill-gotten gains for concealing the source of sexually explicit spam and using spam zombies.

Finally, the FCT reached a settlement with Brian McMullen, who was charged with using spam to drive traffic to Web sites run by third parties. The FTC judgment of $24,193 was also suspended because of McMullen's inability to pay.

In addition, McMullen pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to spam and unauthorized possession of credit cards. He currently is awaiting sentencing.