News
News
3/24/2006
12:39 PM
50%
50%

FTC Smacks Spammer With $900,000 Fine

According to the FTC, JumpStart Technologies has spammed consumers since 2002, sending millions of messages disguised as personal E-mails in an attempt to hype its FreeFlixTix Web site.

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday nailed a spammer with a record-setting $900,000 fine for violating the CAN-SPAM Act.

According to a complaint filed by the FTC, JumpStart Technologies of San Francisco, Calif. has spammed consumers since 2002, sending millions of messages disguised as personal e-mails in an attempt to hype its FreeFlixTix Web site.

JumpStart, charged the FTC, collected e-mail addresses by offering free movie tickets to consumers in exchange for ratting out the names and e-mail addresses of five or more of friends. JumpStart then sent those friends messages with the rat's e-mail address in the "From:" line and a personal Subject: such as "Hey," "Happy Valentine’s Day," or "Invite."

The spammer turned to such underhanded tactics, the FTC said, to slip mail by anti-spam filters and get recipients to open and read its messages.

"[JumpStart] intentionally used personal messages as a cover-up," said Lydia Parnes, the director of the FTC's consumer protection division, in a statement. "Deceptive subject lines and headers not only violate the CAN-SPAM Act, but also consumer trust."

The spam scam also misled consumers who took the bait and went to FreeFlixTix, with some of the "free" ticket offers requiring credit card registration that in many cases resulted in charges made to the account.

JumpStart's FreeFlixTix site is now offline.

Although the fine is dwarfed by rulings in other jurisdictions -- in October 2005, for example, a Boston judge levied a $37 million fine against a spam gangster -- the $900,000 is the most ever actually collected from a spammer.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 16, 2014.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.