[JURIST] America Online (AOL) [corporate website] has filed three lawsuits [complaints; press release] in federal court in Virginia against international groups that allegedly stole information from AOL users, violating Virgina's anti-"phishing" law, the first of its kind in the US. The company, based in Dulles, is seeking $18 million in damages from the groups, claiming that thirty people violated the Virginia Computer Crimes Act [text], which was updated in 2005 to include anti-phishing provisions [VA AG press release] by sending thousands of e-mails and setting up websites supposedly from AOL customer service.
AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said it is unclear exactly how many members were victims of the phishing [backgrounder] scheme, which fooled AOL members into disclosing screen names, passwords, and financial information. The groups named in the lawsuit are allegedly part of a multinational network spanning the United States, Germany, and Romania. AOL also brings claims under federal computer fraud law and the Lanham Act [text], governing trademark protection. AP has more.