Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/26/spam_spammers/

Four million email addresses: yours for £29.95

London mail-order service for wannabe spammers

By John Oates

Posted in Security, 26th October 2004 16:05 GMT

A technology lawyer is warning Register readers that a 'too-good-to-be-true' email is in fact too-good-to-be-true.

The missive offers 4.6m email addresses on an "Unbelievable Secrets" CD for £29.95 along with bulk mail software that can send "30,000+ emails per hour".

Straun Robertson, an IT lawyer at solicitors Masons, said it was almost certain that the email addresses were not collected properly. This leaves both the seller and purchaser of the CD at risk from prosecution for offences against the Data Protection Act. Complaints would have to be made to the Information Commissioner.

If miscreants persisted in their illegal activity despite this warning they could be prosecuted. "Not complying with the notice is a criminal offence. Someone could be fined up to £5,000 or sent to prison for six but it's likely the spammer will stop once they get a warning, in which case they'd probably get away with it," he said.

It also reasonable to assume that the bulk mail package bundled with the CD would be used without the consent of those in the firing line. So users of the software are violating Privacy in Electronic Communications regulations, introduced across the European Union in recent months.

Cheques and postal orders should be sent to an address in west London. Two Register reporters checked out the address - it is a business services centre on bijou Marylebone High Street surrounded by designer shops and up-market restaurants. The boxes are available on a variety of contracts and a company worker assured us that the firm doesn't bother checking addresses given by box holders. After office hours a shutter comes down separating the boxes at the front of the store. Box-holders get a swipe card so they can open boxes outside normal working hours.

A check on news.admin.net-abuse news groups reveal a similar scam operated late last year which used a mail box on Old Brompton Road. It suggests our spammer might be more of a velvet-clad Noel Coward figure than a shady Russian gangster.

This is the full text of the email:

"BULK EMAIL CD just £29.95 inc. p&p and contains:

4,600,000 VALIDATED UK email addresses - Verified in August 2004, ensuring a low failure rate and only used privately.

TO PURCHASE: Please send a Cheque/PO Payable to "Unbelievable Secrets" for £29.95 and send to:

Unit 716, 78 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 5AP

The CD will be sent by first class post and you will also receive FREE software to send 30,000+ emails per hour.

Note: This CD does not contain any personal information of email address owners eg name/address etc."

®

Related stories

Hacking: the must-have business tool
419ers take Aussie financial advisor for AU$1m
Watch out, there's a scammer about