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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Spam is moving increasingly from sales pitches to the criminal realm, driven by phishing and other financial scams, according to a leading provider of anti-spam software. “Our analysis shows that financial fraud now accounts for 9% to 11% of global spam, up from 3% to 5% a year ago, and some months it’s as high as 15%,” says Oren Drori, director of product marketing at CommTouch Software Ltd. (www.commtouch.com). Pharmaceutical drugs remains the largest topic of such email, at 22.4% in March, followed by financial fraud at 10.4%, Viagra at 9.62% and mortgage/refinance at 9.14%, according to CommTouch research. South Korea is now the leading source of spam, accounting for 35.41% of the millions of spam messages the company analyzed in March, Drori says. Second was the United States at 19.81%, with China following behind as the source of 13.57% of the unsolicited commercial e-mail sent around the world. Most financial fraud spam takes the form of phishing, stock manipulation schemes or `Nigerian stings,’” Drori says, with stock manipulations accounting for the most attempts and phishing accounting for the largest financial losses.

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