Halloween spam spirits away personal data

Halloween spam spirits away personal data

More of a trick than a treat

Security experts have intercepted an attempt by spammers to hijack Halloween festivities to grab personal information from innocent internet users.

Sophos has identified a spam email campaign that tries to lure recipients into handing over a wide range of personal information with the promise of a gift voucher worth $250.

The email uses a variety of puns associated with the spooky celebrations on 31 October.

Examples include: 'A $250 MasterCard Gift Card-there's nothing scary about that! (Participation required. See below for details.)' and 'Instead of running away, take advantage of your Halloween gift card and click below! (See offer for details.)'.

Clicking on links contained in the email takes computer users to a website containing Halloween imagery.

The website asks for a large amount of personal information including email addresses, postal addresses, phone numbers and date of birth, before presenting questionnaires on subjects as diverse as student loans, gender and smoking.

"It is not immediately obvious whether this spam is being sent to commit identity theft or whether it is market research gone mad," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"If you visit the site and give it your personal information the chances are that you will be bombarded with unwanted junk email until hell freezes over.

"There is no evidence to reassure people that they will really receive a gift card. As the people behind this website have already proved themselves prepared to send unsolicited spam, this is probably more of a trick than a treat."