Application security

Gasoline spam hits inboxes

A new type of spam focuses on consumers' frustrations with high gas prices, according to McAfee Avert Labs.

The emails begin by complaining about the rising cost of gas and then direct the reader to a website, with the promise the “product” will save the user 70 cents per gallon.  The spam also mentions this gas saver was highlighted on news channels and online videos.

Gasoline-related spam is still relatively new, however. McAfee stated that so far it makes up only 0.2 percent of all spam being circulated.

Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner told on Monday that she has seen an increasing number of innovative marketing and technology-related ideas spring up in response to gas prices. Some of these are clever helpful applications, she added, that allow consumers to find the lowest gas price available in their neighborhood; others encourage consumers to pay with cash to get a lower gas price.

“Unfortunately, the crooks have also gotten innovative with regard to scams based on promising lower gas prices,” Litan said. “Leave it to the criminals to find the latest crisis for their ‘social engineering theme-of-the-month' scam. We have seen them capitalize on human suffering during [Hurricane] Katrina, the tsunami in Asia, and other natural disasters. Now they found a new theme – consumer pocketbooks that are hurting due to gas price increases.”

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