The FTC claim they have received 40,000
complaints regarding spam linked to Harry
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States has
successfully won a court order halting the sending of illegal email
spam and false product claims by Creaghan A Harry, a resident of
Boca Raton, Florida. Harry is said to sell bogus "human growth
hormone" products over the internet.
According to the FTC, between 1 January and 31 May 2004
consumers forwarded approximately 40,000 complaints concerning spam
messages linked to Harry. The court order has frozen Harry's
financial assets and ordered him to halt marketing any more of his
products via email.
The illegal spam messages are said to contain links to websites
that market Harry's "Supreme Formula HGH" and "Youthful Vigor HGH"
products, which claim to stop or reverse the ageing process,
encouraging muscle gain, weight loss, wrinkle removal, muscle gain,
hair growth, and higher levels of energy. Harry charges $79.95 for
one month's supply of the products.
However, FTC experts insist that the product's claims are
entirely false, and that the products have no discernible positive
effect on the human body. It is claimed that the false product
claims have defrauded thousands of consumers of hundreds of
thousands of dollars.
According to the FTC, Harry used a variety of techniques to hide
his involvement with the product selling, including using anonymous
websites, spam, and having proceeds from sales deposited in a
Latvian bank account. He is accused of disguising the source of
spam messages by sending them through innocent third party
computers without their owners' knowledge or permission. On some
occasions, it is said, the source of the emails was disguised by
forging addresses in the "reply-to" and "from" fields to spoof the
real sender's identity in an attempt to avoid detection by
The FTC's complaint charges that deceptive product claims have
been made, and that the email messages violated the CAN-SPAM Act by
disguising their source and failing to provide a method of
opting-out from future emails
"Computer users worldwide are fed up with the daily drudge of
wading through unwanted spam to get to their legitimate email,"
said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "It's
encouraging to see the US authorities investigate complaints of
users who have been bombarded with spam - but more needs to be done
to catch all of those behind this internet nuisance. All businesses
should protect themselves now to prevent spam clogging up their
More information on the case, which will be decided by a court
in Chicago, can be found on the FTC's
Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses
from the threats of both spam and viruses.