Microsoft Live Cashback Sues for Fraud

June 5, 2009 · 0 comments

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on Tuesday that Microsoft Live Cashback (now Bing Cashback) filed suit on May 21st against unnamed defendants for breach of contract and violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The complaint, filed in King County Superior Court, alleges that these currently unidentified parties (named as John Does 1-10 in the suit, pending their investigation and identification) “obtained and attempted to obtain Live Search cashback payments under false pretenses…by using automated processes to access Microsoft’s services, and by maintaining more than one Live Cashback account” in violation of the program’s terms of service. Microsoft claims it’s out over $5,000 in expenses related to detecting and preventing these parties from unauthorized access to the service. They also say that the defendants “obtained moneys to which they were not entitled…the value of which exceeded $5,000 over a 1-year period.” They’re asking for damages to be specified at trial.
Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster told the Seattle P-I that this case involved fraudulent credit card use for Live Cashback purchases and that this was a necessary step to further investigate who exactly was responsible for it.
I’m sure that all cashback programs have some issues with credit card fraud. Someone uses a stolen credit card to make a purchase, gets cash back to their account, cashes it out, and then after the fact the credit card owner realizes what’s happened, disputes the charge, and the cashback site is left in the hole for what they paid the crooks.
Microsoft may be going after these guys more aggressively because, well a) they’re MICROSOFT and they can afford to, but also b) because they direct-contract with merchants rather than using an intermediary affiliate network as the other cashback sites do. The transaction data’s more available to them and the damage is more direct.
It’s a shame that a few rotten apples can spoil the barrel. I hope that Microsoft finds these guys and makes them pay back what they stole. Theft is theft, even when perpetrated against a megacorporation that could probably afford to write it off without blinking.

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