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Personal finance

Personal Finance is one of the most popular spam categories. It includes offers to reduce credit bills, to get better insurance deals, to make loans and mortgages, to analyze stock markets, to get advice on investments, etc. The majority of spam in this category is English-language spam.

The Personal Finance spam category accounts for 1.5%-5% of the total volume of mail traffic.

Personal Finance spam emails can belong to one of two types:

  • Messages offering loans, credits, mortgages.
  • Messages offering a company’s shares at an advantageous price.

The first type of spam is characterized by the following features:

  • The messages are usually very short because the main task of the spammer is to persuade a user to click on the link contained in the text of the message and visit a website where they can allegedly get more detailed information.
  • Spammers often use techniques that hinder detection of the spam content. The body of such a message will usually contain figures instead of letters and vice versa, gaps between parts of the words, invisible text (white letters and a white background), etc.
  • Messages belonging to this type of spam sometimes do not contain any text at all. Spammers use a graphics file to depict the advertising text Instead.

Below is an example of such spam demonstrating some of the text tricks that the spammers use when trying to bypass filtering programs:

  • Distortion of the keyword ‘credit’ (it appears as ‘credtit’ or ‘cred-it’).
  • The text is arranged in such a way as to avoid special ‘financial terms’ which many filters detect as spam – ‘payment’, ‘money’, etc.

The second type of spam is company-specific (messages offering company shares and profitable investments). The main aim of the mailing is to persuade a user to buy these particular shares because they are sold at an advantageous price. Spam messages of this type:

  • are usually rather long.
  • can be masked as financial news mailings and contain graphs and diagram, links to popular financial sites, etc.
  • are based on a detailed analytical article providing arguments in favour of these particular shares.
  • include text tricks to mask typical spam content, like interspersing words with gaps and symbols, replacing letters with figures, etc.

As mentioned above, the Personal Finance spam messages are usually written in English. But this year has seen several examples of Russian-language spam in this category.