Armed with a low-limit VISA card, a post office box and, I suspect, a healthy sense of mischief, the researchers went in search of online health products.
The paper includes the following summary points:
- Spam, or unsolicited e-mail received from an unknown sender, now accounts for the largest proportion of all messages delivered online.
- Little is known about health-related spam and the spammers behind it.
- This study shows that it is possible to purchase products purported to be prescription drugs and controlled substances, across traditional national and legal boundaries, with one-third of our attempts to do so being successful.
- Buyers should be fully aware that it may not be possible for them to hold spammers accountable for any claims made in their messages, or to get protection from illegal activities resulting from disclosure of personal or financial information to spammers.
- Spammers are challenging our traditional regulatory, licensing, and law enforcement frameworks, and even threatening their relevance.