AOL Sues Phishermen

ZDNet reports that America Online has filed lawsuits against three alleged identity-theft gangs, using a new antiphishing law to seek combined damages of $18 million.

The online division of Time Warner has filed three US civil suits in charging the three groups with tricking AOL members with fake Web sites of legitimate companies to fool them into giving up personal information.

The suits were filed under Virginia's new antiphishing statute, a federal trademark law called the Lanham Act, and a federal antispam law called the Federal Computer Fraud & Abuse Act.

AOL said they were the first suits filed by an Internet service provider under the Virginia law passed in July 2005.

The company is targeting groups that it believes reside in the U.S., Germany and Romania that created "hundreds and hundreds of Web sites to mislead consumers." AOL also said it has stored "tens of thousands" of e-mails sent by the groups.