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Messages from payday loan and gambling companies have come to dominate incident of mobile spam in the UK over recent months.

SMS payday loan spam continues to be a mainstay of UK text message spammers, according to a study by Cloudmark.

Although Office of Fair Trading investigations and related clampdown saw 19 of the 50 lenders exit the market and a subsequent drop in spam, other spammers quickly filled the void by cranking up the spam volume to 11 4,200 per cent APR.

Payday loan junk messages held a 35 per cent share of all reported SMS spam but this figures varied erratically on a daily basis between 20 to more than 50 pert of overall junk mail volumes.

Cloudmark's latest quarterly threat report also revealed that the start of the Premier League season caught spammers' attention, with significant spikes in sports betting SMS spam volumes coinciding with match days for the first six weeks of the season so far. The sports-themed SMS spam messages attempted to tempt fans to risk their money on the outcome of weekend fixtures.

As Liverpool went into the fourth week undefeated, Saturday, 14 September had the quarter’s biggest spike with 52 per cent of all reported UK SMS spam for the day relating to betting sites.

Football betting-themed texts included: "The Premiership is back! Get up to £50 FREE BET on the weekends Football with [REDACTED]. Click [REDACTED] Today! text STOP to 66644 to opt-out [sic]"

Cloudmark's study is based on real data from operators such as T-Mobile in the UK, along with figures from mobile operators in other countries. The research looks at mobile threat trends between July and September and is summarised in Cloudmark's report here.

Half the categories in the top 10 SMS spam messages globally targeted recipients with monetary schemes. The exceptions included adult content spam and automobile listing junk messages, among others. Product promotion SMS spam came out as a growth category, rising from around three to eight per cent of overall SMS junk volumes over recent months, according to Cloudmark.

Mobile spam started out as an unscrupulous method to promote material ranging from mortgage offers to pornographic messages. Content types have diversified over the years.

In Europe, mobile operators' "walled garden" strategies have limited the amount of third-party content that reaches mobile users. This, combined with the relatively high cost of sending SMS messages, has limited (but not eliminated) mobile text message nuisances.

Low-volume, high-value attacks involving phishing and premium rate phone numbers historically tended to predominate in Europe but this is beginning to change as evidenced by recent growths in products promotion text nuisances and the like. ®

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