Canadian spammer receives $75,000 fine

A Canadian spammer received a $75,000 fine from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for violating the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), the highest ever to an individual.

According to a March 29 press release, Scott Wiliam Brewer sent over 670,000 promotional emails between December 2015 and May 2018 for four online casinos. He would receive compensation for every new customer who signed up through his affiliate link.

Brewer bypassed email spam filters by deploying hailstorm spam campaigns, in which high volumes of emails were sent in short bursts before the spam filters could react. The investigation found that Brewer did not obtain the necessary consent from the recipients.

Although the recent case set a new record for a personal spam violation, it’s far from the heftiest. In 2018, ticket brokerage 514-Billets had to pay $100,000 in consumer compensations for sending text messages. Similarly, marketing companies Datablocks and Sunlight Media were fined $100,000 and $150,000 respectively for distributing malware through ads.

Since CASL’s establishment in 2014, its violations have amounted to $805,000 in administrative monetary penalties and $668,000 from negotiated undertakings.

Lack of consent is still the top complaint at 47 per cent, followed by the sender’s identity at 20 per cent.

common scam baits
Unexpected money, dating, impersonation, extortion, and IT scams are five of the most common baits. Source: CRTC

Between April 2020 and Sept. 30, 2020, the Canada Spam Reporting Centre received over 140,945 spam reports per week, a slight decrease from the 163,500 complaints seen in the prior six months.

Email has superseded text messaging as the primary spam medium. Nearly 74 per cent of the reports were related to email spams, 15 per cent were through text messaging, and 1.4 per cent through other instant messaging services.

The CRTC recommends reporting spam via the Canada Spam Reporting Centre.

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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