Bad spelling could leave you victim to fraud


For years at school you were told how important spelling was. At the time it all seemed a bit of a waste of time - even more so in the age of text speak and auto-correct.

However, a report has revealed that bad spelling could leave you vulnerable to becoming a victim of fraud.

Email mistakes
The problem comes when we type email addresses. Through a combination of poor typing and bad spelling, most people make mistakes on a regular basis, and instead of sending email to our friends and colleagues, we ping messages out into cyberspace.

Email experts are now warning that this isn't just lost in the ether, it can be harvested by criminals and used for fraud. The Godai Group set up a harvesting project to test the risks, and over six months they got hold of 20GB of data - or 120,000 emails.

All they had to do was set up email addresses which were similar to common addresses, often those aligned to senior people in major companies, but with a spelling error in the company name, a missing dot, or a address rather than a .com. They established these addresses and watched the emails come flooding in. In the process only one of the companies involved noticed that this was going on and tracked down the researchers.

The risks
The risk lies in the data in these emails. The project found that some of the emails contained user names, passwords and in some cases details about corporate networks, meaning businesses are at risk as well as individuals.

And it's not just the researchers who are up to these tricks. Searches done for the report found that doppelgangers had been set up for thousands of addresses.

Sending confidential data through an email is a dangerous business in any case, and this reveals that aligning it to sloppy spelling or typing could be the killer blow that leaves you open to attack.

But is it enough to bring back a revival in good spelling?

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