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Spam: Getting Worse for the Holidays

  • Reuters, Thursday, December 21, 2006 11:01 AM
Remember CAN-SPAM? As many said at the time, an actual legal measure to fight unsolicited email messages would be merely symbolic, similar to the RIAA's lawsuits against users for stealing music. It would never eradicate the problem. We were right. The problem has only gotten worse.

Spam cost an estimated $17 billion in the United States last year in lost productivity and expense of measures to fight it, according to Ferris Research, a San Francisco-based research firm. Worldwide, that number is closer to $50 billion.
If you've noticed an uptick in the amount of spam you've received recently don't worry, it's seasonal. "Every year we see a seasonal increase around the holiday season. It's just worse than it's ever been before this year," says Daniel Druker, executive vice president of marketing at Postini, an email-filtering service, one of the many that profit from the existence of spam.

Phishers and identity thieves, those who use fake emails to lure users into giving up sensitive information like credit-card and Social Security numbers, have a slew of new tricks this year. At the moment, they are winning. So we urge you to urge others to think hard before giving up personal information in an email response. If you're unsure, look for something like a "contact us" button and call.

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