Mortgage Crisis Spawns Spam Scams Spammers are increasingly using the mortgage crisis to fill up the inboxes of e-mail users. Since the start of the year, there has been an increase in the number of unwanted e-mail messages offering relief from foreclosure.
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Mortgage Crisis Spawns Spam Scams

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Mortgage Crisis Spawns Spam Scams

Mortgage Crisis Spawns Spam Scams

Mortgage Crisis Spawns Spam Scams

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/102900899/102900873" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Spammers are using the mortgage crisis to send a barrage of suspect offers to Internet users. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Spammers are increasingly using the mortgage crisis to fill up the inboxes of e-mail users.

Since the start of the year, there has been an increase in the number of unwanted e-mail messages offering relief from foreclosure. Or spammers will invite people to buy a foreclosed house and cash in.

Spam watchers say there has been an uptick in spam messages with subject lines shouting, "Don't let them foreclose!" or "Homes given away."

Doug Bowers monitors spam for Symantec. He says these e-mails lure consumers in slowly.

"Someone will then be on the other end who will try and engage in a dialogue that will end up with you sending information, which then could either be used to actually make purchases, open new credit cards, potentially access your current bank accounts or financial information," he says.

Symantec also says the approach of the April 15 tax-filing deadline is leading to a climb in tax-related touts that are common this time every year.

"We could settle your IRS debt now" is one of the more common spam offers. The goal is to get personal information about the victim on the receiving end of the spam message.

Messages that appear to come from the IRS are never legitimate. The agency says it does not initiate communication with taxpayers through e-mail.

Unsolicited e-mail comes from some exotic locations, such as Brazil and China. But the leading country of origin for spam is far and away the United States.