E-Mail Spamming Scheme


October 27, 2011

It’s an e-mail spamming case that victimized more than 2,000 colleges, universities, and their students.


Audio Transcript

Mollie Halpern: It’s an e-mail spamming case that victimized more than 2,000 colleges, universities, and their students.

Brian A. Pickens: You can become a victim without necessarily doing anything wrong on the Internet.

Halpern: I’m Mollie Halpern of the FBI, and this is Gotcha. Brothers Amir and Osmaan Shah were students at the University of Missouri when they used the university’s computer network to develop a program to unlawfully access more than eight million e-mail addresses. They used those addresses to sell products and services totaling about $4.1 million. Special Agent Brian Pickens…

Pickens: They claimed to be an alumni-owned company. They’re sending e-mails to over 2,000 different university students and each e-mail says, “We’re alumni-owned.”

Halpern: The FBI worked closely with the Heart of America Regional Forensic Lab and its law enforcement partners to collect evidence of the brothers’ crimes. The brothers were ordered to forfeit cash and property from the scheme and were sentenced to three years of probation.

To learn how to protect yourself online, visit www.fbi.gov. This is the FBI’s closed case of the week.

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