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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 00:02 GMT
E-mail warning for workers
Holidaymakers on the beach
While workers sun themselves burglars could be busy
Office workers are being warned to be careful about the information they put in "out of office" e-mail messages.

According to the technology industry body the Corporate IT Forum, some of its 120 members have reported that criminals are buying up lists of e-mail addresses to find out details of holiday absences.


You wouldn't go on holiday with a note pinned to your door

David Roberts
Corporate IT Forum
In theory, the information in an e-mail could be cross-referenced with publicly available data to find out the sender's home addresses. Homes that are believed to be vacant could then be targeted by burglars

But so far there have been no examples of burglaries that have happened as a direct result of a carelessly worded e-mail.

A spokesman for the Corporate IT Forum said: "To be honest it is very hard to trace it back to e-mail messages but it is a very real issue."

However, firms are being warned to keep messages as bland as possible with no hint that they are going on holiday.

Do and don'ts

The body's Chief Executive, David Roberts, said: "You wouldn't go on holiday with a note pinned to your door saying who you were, how long you were away for and when you were coming back so why would you put this in an e-mail."

It is advising workers not to say they are going on holiday, put their job title or home address in their out of office reply.

Messages should be as bland as possible and redirect enquiries to a colleague's business phone number.

See also:

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