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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003, 09:09 GMT
Spam set to soar this Christmas
Chocolate Santas, BBC
Santa is bringing you spam this Christmas even if you were planning on turkey
Christmas is coming and spammers want to fill your inbox with more messages than ever.

Net filtering firms report that senders of spam are already starting to change the messages they send in an attempt to cash in on the festive season.

The firms have noticed an increase in e-mails offering single products and hi-tech gadgets as potential presents.

Also increasing are messages offering cheap loans to help people pay for all the gifts they are planning to buy.

Message mountain

Filtering firm Clearswift said analysis of its October spam index revealed that almost a quarter of the messages it was stopping were related to cheap loans that are aimed at people who want help coping with the cost of Christmas.

In most months financial spam only accounted for 12% of all messages.

Alyn Hockey, director of research at Clearswift, said that it was also seeing an increase in the number of e-mail messages about individual products such as DVD burners and other hi-tech toys that might appeal to net users or their partners.

"Not only are spammers developing more and more cunning ways of getting around email filtering technology, but their marketing strategy is clearly up to scratch too," he said.

The sheer number of spam messages being sent looks like it will rise this Christmas too.

Spam filtering and security firm FrontBridge said that now more than 70% of the mail it filters is spam based. This is a rise of almost 50% since the start of 2003.

FrontBridge said that now the average company with 1,000 employees sees more than 2.1m spam messages per year.

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