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Internet users unfazed by spam: study

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The volume of spam arriving in Americans' personal and workplace inboxes is rising, but email users are less bothered by it than they once were.

That's according to a new study from the Pew Internet Project, which reveals that American internet users have become more sophisticated at dealing with unsolicited emails.

Asked if the volume of spam in their inboxes had changed over the past few years, 37 per cent of email users said the number of unsolicited messages they received in their personal accounts has risen, up from 28 per cent two years ago. In addition, 29 per cent of work email users said spam levels had grown, up from 21 per cent in 2005.

The report indicates that 71 per cent of online Americans now use filters offered by their email provider or employer to block spam, which may explain why the percentage of users who say spam is not a problem has risen from 16 per cent to 28 per cent over the past two years.

In addition, email users have become a lot savvier about recognising unsolicited messages. Just over 60 per cent of online Americans claimed to be able to distinguish spam from other types of emails in 2003, a figure that's now risen to 68 per cent.

Less than one quarter of email users admitted clicking on a link within a spam message in order to get more information, down from 33 per cent in 2003. And only four per cent of email users admitted to action that keeps the spam industry viable, such as ordering a product or service from an unsolicited email.

Online Americans report less exposure to pornographic spam than in previous years and many say that receiving unsolicited messages has not stopped them from using email, as was once feared.

However, email users report no change in the volume of another troubling form of spam, phishing, with 36 per cent of online Americans claiming they've received unsolicited email requesting personal financial information such as a bank account number or Social Security number.

In addition, the study does show that while less internet users claim to be as bothered by spam as they once were, 55 per cent of online Americans said they no longer trusted email because of spam.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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