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UK most popular destination for 419 scams

One in four Nigerian spams sent to Blighty

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The United Kingdom is the most popular destination for 419 scams - emails which promise huge riches in exchange for up-front arrangement fees.

A worldwide survey of spam found 23 per cent of all Nigerian 419 scams were sent to British surfers. The UK also scored highly for adult spam - coming second, just behind the US.

The research asked 50 people from ten countries to surf the web unprotected and see what spam they picked up. In total they received 104,000 pieces of spam in the course of a month. The five UK respondents got the fifth highest amount of spam - 11,965 emails. The US came top with 23,233 unsolicited emails.

Anti-virus firm McAfee, which sponsored the research, warned that spam shows no signs of slowing down and does present some real dangers beyond the immediate nuisance. Although none of the UK surfers received email containing a virus several were directed to websites which contained malware. Phishing emails - which purport to come from a trusted source in order to get account or password information - made up eight per cent of the UK total.

Phishing emails supposedly from Bank of America, Chase.com, eBay and Wachovia.com were most popular.

Researchers also found an increase in foreign language spam with Germany and France the favourite targets, although these two countries come bottom of the league for total spam. McAfee predicts non-English language spam will continue to grow.

The top four spam categories were advertising, financial, health and medicine, and adult services. ®

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