On January 26, 2004, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed the first lawsuit against a suspected phisher. The defendant, a Californian teenager, allegedly created and used a webpage designed to look like the America Online website, so that he could steal credit card information. Other countries have followed the lead of the U.S. by tracing and arresting phishers. A phishing kingpin, Valdir Paulo de Almeida, was arrested in Brazil for leading one of the largest phishing crime rings, which in 2 years stole between $18 and $37 million USD. UK authorities jailed two men in June 2005 for their role in a phishing scam, in a case connected to the U.S. Secret Service Operation Firewall, which targeted notorious « carder » websites. In 2006 eight people were arrested by Japanese police on suspicion of phishing fraud by creating bogus Yahoo Japan Web sites, netting themselves 100 million yen ($870 thousand USD). The arrests continued in 2006 with the FBI Operation Cardkeeper detaining a gang of sixteen in the U.S. and Europe.
In the United States, Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the Anti-Phishing Act of 2005 on March 1, 2005. The federal anti-phishing bill proposes that criminals who create fake web sites and spam bogus emails in order to defraud consumers could receive a fine up to $250,000 and receive jail terms of up to five years. The UK strengthened the legal arsenal against phishing with the Fraud Act 2006, which introduces a general offence of fraud that can carry up to a ten year sentence, and prohibits writing or possessing phishing kits with intent to commit fraud.
Companies have also joined the effort to crack down on phishing. On March 31, 2005, Microsoft filed 117 federal lawsuits in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The lawsuits accuse « John Doe » defendants of using various methods to obtain passwords and confidential information. March 2005 also saw Microsoft partner with the Australian government to teach law enforcement officials how to combat various cyber crimes, including phishing. Microsoft announced a planned further 100 lawsuits outside the U.S. in March 2006, followed by the commencement, as of November 2006, of 129 lawsuits mixing criminal and civil actions.
AOL reinforced its efforts against phishing in early 2006 with three lawsuits seeking a total of $18 million USD under the 2005 amendments to the Virginia Computer Crimes Act, and Earthlink has joined in by helping to identify six men subsequently charged with phishing fraud in Connecticut.
In January 2007, Jeffrey Brett Goodin of California became the first defendant convicted by a jury under the provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. He was found guilty of sending thousands of e-mails to America Online users, while posing as AOL’s billing department, which prompted customers to send personal and credit card information. Facing a possible 101 years in prison for the CAN-SPAM violation and ten other counts including wire fraud, unauthorized use of credit cards, and misusing AOL’s trademark, he was sentenced to serve 70 months. Goodin had been in custody since failing to appear for an earlier court hearing and began serving his prison term immediately
Source : wikipedia