Marks & Spencer email hoax resurgence

Graham Cluley

An email chain letter claiming that legendary British retailer Marks & Spencer are offering up to £500 in free vouchers has seen a resurgence in the last couple of weeks. We first encountered it in the summer of 2007, but it appears it has recently had something of a revival, with many people visiting our website searching for information.

To get an idea of how the hoax has grown in recent days, check out the graphic below. It shows the growth in ‘hits’ on our webpage describing the Marks & Spencer chain letter:

You can see how hits drop at weekends – presumably as people are away from their work email accounts. It will be interesting to monitor whether this hoax grows in popularity as this week begins, or whether word spreads that it is nonsense.

The problem with hoaxes and chain letters, of course, is that they’re next to impossible to kill off forever. There will always be someone who thinks…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, on Mastodon at @[email protected], or drop him an email.