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Don't fall for health-care spam

Consumer Reports News: August 24, 2009 04:16 PM

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[ PHOTO: Courtesy of dimshik]

As the debate over health-care reform continues, it’s inevitable that you’ll be seeing an uptick of spam e-mails on the topic. The top 5 spam messages that mention President Obama are all health-related, according to Symantec’s latest report on the state of spam so far this summer. Here are the most prevalent messages:

  1. No health care and can’t afford pills? You can now! Obama Sponsored Med Program

  2. Obama isn’t helping; Let us give you cheap pills


  4. Obama Opens Online Pharmacy

  5. Obama has given us over $1BILLION to distribute affordable prescription drugs!

Symantec even identified spam about Harry Potter that tries to lure recipients to link to an online pharmacy.

The best thing to do with spam e-mails: Delete them! But according to our 2009 State of the Net survey, many spam recipients continue to engage with the spammers.

Some examples: 25% of respondents to the survey said they clicked on a link to be removed from the e-mail list, and 13% replied to the e-mail to request that they be removed. Close to 5% clicked a link or responded to the e-mail to request more information, while 1% actually bought an advertised product or service.

At the least, such activities only encourage spammers to send more spam. At worst, interacting with spammers could result in malicious software being downloaded onto your computer. For more on protecting yourself online, visit our Guide to Online Security. —Donna Tapellini

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