Consumers urged to boycott spammers in run-up to Valentine's Day

February 09, 2006 Sophos Press Release

Anti-spam experts at Sophos are calling on consumers to boycott companies who try to sell them goods via spam in the run-up to St Valentine's Day on Tuesday 14 February. According to a recent web poll* by the security leader, 9% of computer users have purchased goods sold via spam, which Sophos claims is more than enough to keep spammers in business and encourage them to continue bombarding innocent users with unsolicited emails.

As the most romantic day of the year approaches, Sophos's global network of spamtraps are seeing thousands of unsolicited bulk emails being sent with the intention of selling Valentine-related products.

Subject lines seen have included:

Give the scent of love this year!
Whiter Teeth before Valentines
Don't Wait- 15% Off All Valentine Fresh Flowers

Goods promoted via Valentine-related spam in the past have ranged from skimpy lingerie to chocolates, flowers to pashmina shawls, and even adult board games.

Spammers are using Valentine's Day to promote a variety of goods.

"This year spammers are not only suggesting goods you can buy for your loved ones at Valentine's, they're also peddling ways to make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex, such as teeth whitening products. As our poll has proved, the sad truth is that there are people out there who buy products sold via spam, and admit they visit websites promoted via bulk email," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "But if you buy goods marketed via spam then you are simply encouraging the spammers to send more junk email. If no-one purchased the products then the spammers would disappear. It's time to boycott the companies who use spam to sell their goods. If you receive an unsolicited commercial email don't try, don't buy, don't reply."

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses.

* Sophos online survey, 533 respondents, February 2006