Cell phone users in Japan are being swamped with junk e-mail despite all-out efforts by telephone companies to combat the nuisance.
Much of the unsolicited e-mail, commonly known as spam, advertises Web sites showing pornography and is sent in bulk to countless cell phone users. Other messages demand payment of bills the recipient never ran up.
The spammers use a number of techniques to deliver their messages, including making up a huge volume of e-mail addresses at random and sending them out in the hope that some will hit a target.
Owners are advised to use their cell phones’ functions to protect them from unwanted e-mail or simply ignore demands for payment of bills for something they did not utilize.
Experts say the golden rule is never to open or respond to messages from strangers.
However, sometimes a message appears to be from a friend, whose name or e-mail ID the spam merchants got by using special software.
The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan said there are increasing cases of Web fraudsters intimidating people into paying by claiming they have a court order.
The center said it dealt with two such cases in April of people seeking its advice on how to deal with senders of e-mails demanding payment for items or services they never bought. The number of such cases had rocketed to 62 in September.
NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest cell phone company, has utilized computers to block transmission of large volumes of junk mail sent at random.
It said it has recommended its customers to use e-mail addresses that are as long as possible to reduce the probability of getting nuisance mail, and asking mobile phone users to offer information leading to identifying unscrupulous service dealers.
However, it said its FOMA third-generation cell phone short message service has been a target of unwanted e-mails since late last year.
KDDI, another large cell phone service provider, said it received a flood of protests last May after its C-mail became a target for spammers.
There is no law against abusing such short message service. Moves are under way to stem the legal loophole.
However, KDDI officials said that even with legislation, the number of unsolicited e-mails as a whole will not decrease because the senders are always finding new ways to do it.
NTT DoCoMo said cooperation with Internet providers has become an issue because a lot of spam comes from e-mails sent out of personal computers via Internet providers.
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