In the first of a series of planned government crackdowns on junk e-mail schemes, the Federal Trade Commission announced actions Tuesday against one of the most widely distributed get-rich-quick scams.
The e-mail, which promised recipients they could "Be a millionaire like others within a year!" on a $25 investment, is an illegal chain letter ruse, the FTC said. Seven people caught last year in an agency sting agreed to a federal court judgment that required them to return future funds gained from the scheme.
In addition, the FTC said it had sent warning letters to 2,000 other people allegedly involved in distributing the e-mail.
FTC officials said they are serious about pursuing e-mail scams, but they acknowledge it's an uphill battle. The agency has only 271 investigators to examine all types of commercial claims.
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