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Yahoo Sues Lottery Group

Yahoo Inc. has filed a lawsuit against an unknown group of defendants it alleges tricked consumers into thinking they won a lottery or prize offered by the Internet company.

Yahoo filed the lawsuit on May 16 in U.S. District Court in New York City under federal trademark law, federal anti-spam law and other state laws.

In its court filing, Yahoo contends that the defendants masqueraded as the Internet company, sending out e-mails claiming recipients had won prizes ranging from a few thousand to a million dollars and instructing them to click on a link or forward personal information to a “Yahoo lottery coordinator” to get their prize.

At times, recipients were instructed to contact another party to arrange for the prize payment, Yahoo said in the filing, and this other party would charge them “hundreds of dollars in various processing and mailing charges in order to complete the payment process.”

Yahoo noted in the filing that it does not offer any such prizes and has no connection with the group or the e-mails it sent.

Such ” phishing” scams are meant to trick consumers into sharing financial information.

Although the defendants’ identities are unknown, Yahoo believes that information picked up during a discovery period from third-party e-mail service companies will lead to their identification.

“The unauthorized use of Yahoo’s trademarks is misleading, fraudulent, and has actually confused, misled, and deceived the public,” said Joe Siino, senior vice president of Yahoo global intellectual property and business strategy, in a statement on Tuesday.

Yahoo is seeking an end to the companies’ practices and unspecified damages.