The Cost of Spam: Financial Risks

While spamming is very inexpensive for the sender, it can prove to be costly for your business and internet service providers.  A recent study by Nucleus Research Inc. reports that the management of spam costs U.S. business owners well over $71 billion per year in lost productivity - that translates to $712 for each employee. 

Below we have compiled a list featuring the many ways spam takes money from online businesses and how this nuisance can be calculated in terms of real costs:

Anti-spam Solution

The ongoing spam epidemic has actually proved beneficial for the many companies offering products and services to fight the problem.  Many businesses will not only pay a large amount of money on high-quality anti-spam software, but also pay associates and consultants to plan, implement, and maintain these defense mechanisms. 

Decline in Productivity

Spam not only robs money from business owners, but also wastes the time of employees who were once productive.  The average worker can spend up to 20 seconds evaluating and deleting spam messages one by one.  This is typically the case in a work environment where spam is quarantined and left for the recipient to review at a later time.  Even though the messages are being deleted, it still costs the business valuable time as employees attempt to determine the legitimacy of these emails. 

Wasted Storage Space  

Several businesses quarantine spam in order to get a handle on the problem.  The truth is that the entire process requires an additional storage capacity in order to accommodate the email in question.  For many online business owners, this is the best way to prevent spam from directly reaching their employees.  Unfortunately, several users fail to even bother with quarantined messages, believing that they must have been isolated for a reason.  The result: extra storage space purchased for email to just sit until it is automatically deleted. 

Costs for the Internet Service Provider

It is difficult to calculate how spam financially affects a service provider.  It would also be very impractical to think that they are not passing down these high prices to their dedicated customers.  Symantec Corp., a prominent vendor of anti-spam products, released a report in October of 2007, stating that an estimated 70% of all email we receive is spam.  This very burden of email traffic is what has forced internet service providers to supply extra capacity to their network and servers.  If the provider offers their own anti-spam program, the service is sure to increase.

The Intangible Price

Spam impacts the economy on a much broader scale, victimizing several businesses and countries that cannot handle the burden.  Take Nigeria for instance: this country was put at the forefront of spam scandals from the very beginning, the direct results of scams initiated from local internet criminals.  Researchers have also reported that most anti-spam filters will automatically block any message that contains "Nigeria" in the subject field or text of the email.

In the end, spam is bad for all those involved with the exception of the sender.  Even their reign of terror may be limited, as internet authorities work diligently to prevent the many scams involved with these unsolicited emails. 

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.