lawsuit may be on the horizon

Back in April, I wrote about a little case of spamming people's entire address books without explicit permission. It's a simple scam. You get an email from saying that Jane Smith has been searching for you, and you're asked to go to the site and sign up for a free account. Once you sign up, you get a message saying "We'll find your friends and family who are already members and also automatically invite any nonmembers to join (it's free!)."

You agree to let access your email address book, thinking that you're going to have an opportunity to decide who gets invited and who doesn't. Instead, immediately sends an email to everyone in your address book. How embarrassing to have business contacts receive an email that you were looking for them on a high school reunion website! What about an ex-boyfriend receiving this email? Or a potential employer?

I've read comments from consumers all over the internet who fell victim to this scam. But now justice may be served as a law firm in San Francisco is investigating the case for possible legal action.Kronenberger Burgoyne, LLP is looking for consumers who have been victims of the scam. Specifically, they want:

  • Copies of emails that were sent by to your address book or contact list
  • Details about whether or not you had an opportunity to control who was emailed
  • What was stated on the site when you signed up
  • What the privacy policy said at the time you signed up
  • Details about what happened after you signed up

From everything I've seen, it doesn't look like has stopped this practice of emailing your entire address book, even in light of the publicity the issue has received. Apparently, there's a lot of money to be made this way, and the incentive to stop upsetting consumers is too low.

If you've been wronged by and have evidence of what happened, you can contact the law firm directly.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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