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12/28/2005
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AOL Names Top Spam Subjects For 2005

The year in spam includes "Donald Trump" and "penis patch" in the top 10, America Online says.

Donald Trump and "penis patch" were the most popular subject lines used by spammers this year, as the fraudsters grew more sophisticated in trying to trick consumers, America Online said Wednesday in its third annual Top 10 Spam List.

Six out of the 10 top subject lines this year fell into what experts call "special-order spam," which pretend to be from a friend, or part of a legitimate, customer-driven transaction. Subject lines carrying the name of famous N.Y. business tycoon Donald Trump led the list, with "penis patch" the second most popular phrase.

The number of top 10 spam subject lines replacing generic pitches with more personal come-ons increased dramatically from last year, when only two fell into the special-order spam category, and none in 2003, AOL, a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., said.

For example, this year's list features "your mortgage application is ready," another claims to have sent "you to the wrong site," and others simply say "thank you" or "re:," as if they are responding to the recipient.

"While the volume of spam reaching AOL email inboxes has remained at low levels compared to it's height in late 2003, the spam that's out there is more insidious, crafty, devious, and dangerous than ever," Charles Stiles, AOL's postmaster who helps direct its spam-fighting unit, said in a statement.

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