Survey: Users More Accepting of Spam

A new survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project suggests that people may be getting used to dealing with spam in their inboxes these days. Spam is also being cited as a cause for a marked decline in the number of people who trust that what comes into their inbox is genuine e-mail.

53 percent of users trust their e-mail, down from 62 percent last year. However, a smaller portion of Internet users, 22 percent, are spending less time online due to spam, versus 29 percent last year.

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Deborah Fallows of Pew Internet, the study's author, said that the results may show a "level of tolerance" of e-mail spam. "Maybe it's their getting used to it. Maybe it's like other annoying things in life, air pollution, traffic - they are just learning to live with it."

Pornographic spam is on a decline, but phishing scams -- e-mails that attempt to trick users into giving their personal information -- is on the rise.

Some users are also becoming smarter in efforts to stop spam. There were slight increases in the number of people who do not post their e-mail addresses on public Web sites, as well as set up e-mail addresses that are hard for automated programs to guess.

The Pew Internet study surveyed 1,121 adults and had an error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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