Lawsuits have been filed against three alleged identity-theft gangs by AOL. The company has used new anti-phishing laws to achieve this, and is seeking combined damages of $18m. This is a great sign that companies and legislation are now catching up to the problems of phishing and identify theft.

The online division of Time Warner said on Tuesday it had filed three civil suits in Alexandria's US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, charging the three groups with tricking AOL members by using fake websites of legitimate companies to fool them into giving up personal information.

The suits were filed under Virginia's new anti-phishing statute, a federal trademark law called the Lanham Act, and a federal anti-spam law called the Federal Computer Fraud & Abuse Act.