FTC ATTACKS SPAM AS THREAT TO E-MAIL

Opens Three-Day Spam Workshop Tomorrow

By Published on .

WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- On the eve of a three-day workshop on unsolicited junk e-mail, or spam, the Federal Trade Commission today unveiled its most extensive study on the subject.

According to the FTC, while two-thirds of most spam consumers receive in their in-boxes could be misleading, a bigger problem lies with deceptive sender addresses and subject lines that far exceed the number of phony offers found within the spam mailer.

Medium at risk
"E-mail is being hijacked," said Eileen

Related Stories:
FTC SUES PORN SPAMMER
Allegedly Used Misleading Subject Lines, False E-mail Addresses
FTC TO HOLD SPAM WORKSHOP
Three-Day Hearings Could Lead to Regulatory Action
CONSUMER GROUPS SEEK TOUGHER SPAM CRACKDOWN
Ask FTC to Increase Prosecution, Set E-mail Standards
Harrington, the FTC's associate director and director of the marketing practices. "This suggests the medium itself is at risk."

Though the study seems to indicate that the FTC doesn't need new spam-blocking legislation, Ms. Harrington said it's difficult to prove that the e-mail messages are more than just legally deceptive and that new laws could add safeguards.

As it readies for tomorrow's workshop, the FTC today offered some unusual insight from a sample of its own spam checks and the e-mails it was forwarded from consumers.

According to the FTC, while about 40% of spam e-mails contain text that appears deceptive (the numbers are far higher for business opportunities), 44% of spam e-mails use a fraudulent subject or sender address to get consumers to open the message or hide senders identities.

Phony 'from' addresses
About a third of all spam contains phony "from" addresses, with half masquerading as messages from friends. Again the numbers were higher for some kind of offers than others.

Subject lines in the e-mails are misleadingly false 22% of the time and 42% of those falsely suggest the sender knows or has a business relationship with the recipient. The recurrence of false subject lines was even higher, almost 33%, in spams about adult subjects.

In this article:
Most Popular