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Spammers receive Government threat

Spammers receive Government threat

The UK Government this week has taken the unusual step of warning the country about the flood of text message, email and fax scams that seem to be plaguing the business and consumer world. The Department for Trade and Industry this month said that the practice of Spam, through whatever medium, was a danger to business and consumers alike but children, in particular, are being targeted which is causing outrage amongst parents and family groups

In its formal statement, the DTI's own Melanie Johnson warned consumers to be on their guard against the practice of Spam and the department as a whole urged people to ensure that the problems are reported. This isn't any old spam they're talking about of course - if they were their systems would be flooded with complaints within minutes - rather it's the really dodgy ones that are concerning the Government.

These typically take the form of some kind of inducement that urges people to run up an expensive bill, either through the mobile phone, fax or email. Increasingly it's the mobile phone that is cause for concern as people are being encouraged to ring premium rate phone numbers in response to dubious text messages.

The DTI gave the example of the widely dispersed, 'I fancy you' text message which, upon receipt, urged people to call a premium number to find out who it was that fancied them. It's a pretty base level attempt but one that is potentially costing consumers thousands of pounds.

Of greater concern is the trend for these text spammers to target children who, as you are no doubt aware, are probably the biggest and most excitable bunch of text messagers around today. They also, of course, rarely have the funds to pay for the premium rate numbers they have just called.

So far this year the DTI says it has received in excess of 10,000 complaints about such spamming practices. But it takes a very harsh view and is more than willing to prosecute if it can find and get the perpetrators into court.

This year, the DTI claims, it has barred access to more than 200 of these services and has imposed more than £300,000 worth of fines. This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg and the DTI is asking for your help to stop the illicit and dangerous practice.

You can find out how to spot these dubious practices here:

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