Canadians filed over 144,500 anti-spam complaints over the past six months

Sixty-seven percent of the complaints were regarding spam emails

Canadians filed over 144,560 complaints to the Spam Reporting Centre (SRC) between October 1, 2020 to March 21, 2021.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has published its latest report detailing the types of spam reported and the actions it enforced under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation over the past six months.

The report reveals that 67 percent of the complaints filed were regarding spam emails, while 22 percent were regarding spam received through text messages. Two percent were regarding spam received through instant messages and the remaining nine percent didn’t specify the source of the spam.

It also notes that 93 percent of complaints were regarding lack of consent and 34 percent were about the identification of the sender.

Thirty percent of complaints were about deceptive marketing practices, while three percent were regarding software and malware. It’s worth noting that the total does not add up to 100 percent being users are able to select more than one category for a complaint.

The data shows that complaints about consent issues are continuing to rise. For instance, the report states that when “looking at submissions from Canadians to the SRC over the last six months, complaints about consent issues increased from month to month.”

Interestingly, the report found that more than 76 percent of the messages reported to the SRC were related to affiliate marketing or legitimate businesses selling services.

The top five categories of affiliate marketing messages were related to food and health, surveys and sweepstakes, casinos, online shopping and technology.

Further, the top five categories of commercial messages reported to the centre were related to marketing services, technology, online shopping, updates and notifications, and newsletters.

During the six-month time period, the CRTC enforced the largest-ever penalty it has issued to an individual for sending emails without consent. An individual named Scott William Brewer was fined $75,000 for violating Canada’s anti-spam legislation by sending over 670,000 commercial emails.

The CRTC had noted that its investigation found that Brewer sent a high volume of emails over a short time span to prevent anti-spam defences from responding and blocking the messages. This type of action is known as a hailstorm spam campaign.

In addition to this enforcement action, the commission also issued 10 warning letters but did not disclose specifics.