Want some spam for Christmas?

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Spammers are using Christmas overspending to tempt unwary consumers, according to a survey released Monday.

Spammers are using Christmas overspending to tempt unwary consumers, according to a survey released today.

Content filtering vendor Clearswift found an increase in the amount of finance related spam -- it made up 12 percent of spam received in September, and rose to 24 percent during October. The vendor also found an increase in direct product related spam, particularly for DVD burners.

Chy Chuawiwat, managing director Asia Pacific at Clearswift, told iTnews that Christmas spam could include both gifs and hoaxes. “Direct marketing will increase because of Christmas gifts and buying,” Chuawiwat said. “Also, there'll be an increase in scams using spam.”

For October, 27 percent of spam was about healthcare; with pornography and profanity making up 16 percent of the spam received.

Clearswift measured spam for its monthly index through unsolicited emails received by the vendor, spam generated by seeding email accounts, and spam submissions forwarded to it by customers.

Spam has been in the spotlight increasingly over the past month. Late October, NSW police arrested a Sydney man who was allegedly involved in a multimillion dollar, so-called Nigerian Internet scam.

According to reports, the scam involved spam emails which conned people into believing that they could claim millions of dollars through lottery winnings. People were asked to send off money for expenses to claim their winnings.

While Clearswift's Chuawiwat didn't think the cracking of the Nigerian Internet scam would make a difference to the total volume of spam users received in their inboxes, he hoped it would send a message to the spammers that they could get caught.

But he also warned that Australian users continue to get caught out by spam. “Spammers are getting smarter and are trying different techniques,” Chuawiwat said.

In related news, the Australian Democrats last week called for no exceptions to the proposed federal spam legislation. While the Australian Democrats had indicated support for the broad intent of the anti-spam legislation, they said they didn't want special treatment for charities, political parties or religious organisations.

Senator Brian Greig, IT spokesperson for the Democrats, said that the Bill shouldn't distinguish between commercial and non-commercial unwanted email.

“Spam is intrusive, expensive and mostly unwanted, and is costing business more than $19 billion every year through wasted employee time,” Greig said in a statement.

The Democrats also described the Bill's search and seize procedures as “over-zealous in scope and justification”. It's calling for amendments restricting current provisions for entry on to private property, searching premises and seizing private property without warrants.

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