FTC Recongizes That Perhaps Spamford Wallace Likes To Spam People

from the i'll-have-your-spam-i-love-it dept

If you’ve followed the spam/scam space for a while, you know the story of Sanford “Spamford” Wallace — the original big name spammer. He was proud of what he did, though eventually claimed to shut down and go legit, even trying to run a night club for a while. However, the allure of questionable internet marketing activities proved to be too strong, and before long he was back on track, this time in the spyware business. Eventually, the FTC fined him $4 million, though, they apparently drastically lowered the amount when he showed hardship. A year ago, it was discovered that soon after this settlement with the FTC, Wallace went right back to spyware distribution using MySpace. The FTC doesn’t seem nearly as inclined to cut Wallace any slack this time around, as it’s filed contempt charges against Wallace, demanding that he hand over all of the profits from his MySpace scamming. The filing reveals more details that show just how scammy Wallace was on MySpace. He didn’t just set up 11,000 fake profiles, as mentioned in the original filing, but he also used phishing techniques to get other users’ logins, and then used the logins to spam other MySpace pages with comments. On top of that, he installed software to make it quite difficult to delete those comments. All this effort paid off, apparently earning Wallace $555,850 in just six months.

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Comments on “FTC Recongizes That Perhaps Spamford Wallace Likes To Spam People”

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Rich Kulawiec says:

There is no such thing...

…as an ex-spammer.
Or, more generally, an ex-spammer/phisher/spyware-user/etc.
(Oh, and by the way, Spamford also spent some time junk-faxing.)

Any claim by any X that they are “an ex-spammer” should
be considered a bald-faced lie until overwhelming proof
in support of that claim is produced. So far, that’s
never happened — what’s happened instead is that those making
the claims have (variously) either kept right on spamming, farmed out spamming to associates, shifted to spyware/adware, or otherwise found a way to continue the abuse.

Some days I can’t decide whether to be amused or appalled by this. On the one hand, it’s pretty funny that the same scam keeps working over and over again. On other hand, one would hope that there’s at least one person working at the FTC capable of recognizing the scam and taking effective action.

So far, that hasn’t happened either. My guess is that this current case will be no different — whatever happens to Spamford will be (another) mere slap on the wrist and he’ll get right back to work with his next scheme. This cycle will continue.

As to why this is happening, I refer to
this comment by Barry Shein on the NANOG mailing list just about ten years ago. It’s one of the most succinct, profound things that anyone’s ever said about spam and spammers.
We’re now a decade past that comment and there are still people who haven’t caught up to it.

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