Spam for the holidays

09Dec08

I’ve been getting a lot more email spam lately, and almost all of it is holiday themed. While this obviously isn’t a scientific sample, I have to wonder if spammers do in fact step up their efforts during the holiday season. This behavior would make sense, as people are out shopping for bargains and may be feeling more charitable, too. Taken together, these factors might make them more likely to fall for bargain-priced product scams and fraudulent requests for charitable assistance.

To help combat these clever spammers, I would like to see a coordinated effort among online retailers and other popular websites to help remind consumers about the dangers of opening and responding to spam. Sure, you can find those warnings on sites that focus on security, but they’re generally absent from mainstream web properties.

Would the warnings scare customers a bit? Perhaps. But if a few big sites agreed to promote the same message, it would quickly become a trusted advisory and maybe even get people to take action. In the case of spam, that means deleting those spam emails immediately. On the balance, this would mean less monetary fraud, identity theft, and other bad things that nobody wants to fall victim to — especially in what should be the most festive time of the year.



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