Famous people make great spam bait

Spammers use famous faces to con youInternet security firm McAfee recently released its January 2010 spam report which included a summation of the 2009 spam world. Included was a list of the top celebrities used to bait you into reading spam. You just can't pass up Angelina Jolie or Oprah Winfrey, can you?

The study also found that, while spam continues to trend up, measures by the Chinese government to crack down on spam sites hosted within its borders could have a significant impact on the operations of sleazeballs the world around.

The China Internet Network Information Center reported that those requesting a URL in the domain .cn are now required to file written applications with documentation. As a result, spammers have moved to other free sites such as Microsoft's spaces.live.com.

A remarkably high percentage of the spam was pitching pharmaceuticals, including one huge spike for Pfizer products, at times making up more than 60% of all spam. The subject line "Pfizer 80% OFF" is spam.

How else can you identify spam? The crooks often attempt to lure recipients by referring to a famous person. For example, in 2009, Oprah Winfrey and the FBI teamed up to refute an e-mail scam which claimed that one of her audience members in an upcoming show would supposedly win $1 million if they could answer a series of questions. Of course, the sucker was required to send money to cover airfare, show tickets and a hotel room beforehand to be part of that audience.

In 2009, these people were red hot with spammers.

The top 11 women used as spam bait in 2009:
  1. Angelina Jolie
  2. Oprah Winfrey
  3. Paris Hilton
  4. Britney Spears
  5. Miley Cyrus
  6. Rihanna
  7. Avril Lavigne
  8. Madonna
  9. Scarlett Johansson
  10. Jessica Simpson
  11. Emma Watson

Top 11 men of spam in 2009:
  1. Barack Obama
  2. Michael Jackson
  3. George Bush
  4. Brad Pitt
  5. Eminem
  6. Warren Buffet
  7. Chuck Norris
  8. Don Juan
  9. Elton John
  10. Sacha Baron Cohen
  11. Pope Benedict XVI
The POPE? Wow.
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