By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Even if you have a good spam filter, chances are you still get plenty of junk in your in-box. In fact, it’s estimated, half of all e-mail messages are spam.

While they all seem kind of random as far as their content, 3-On Your Side Consumer reporter Jim Donovan has learned, they may in fact have a common link.

Whether it’s a pitch for Viagra, an offer from an African prince or a chance to buy a fake Rolex, University of California researcher Nick Weaver actually likes to get spam.

He says, “It tells me what tricks they’re using.”

For the past two years, Weaver and his team of researchers have been on a mission to stop the messages. Messages they say are all about making money.

Researcher Chris Kanish says, “People that are sending the spam are financially motivated and they’re financially motivated to do other bad things.”

The team spent two years analyzing nearly a billion spam messages and making more than 120 online purchases.

Jim Donovan Reports …

While doing so, they discovered something surprising. Even though thousands of people all over the world are sending spam, 95 percent of the spam transactions were processed by just three overseas banks. They were located in Azerbaijan, Denmark and in Nevis in the West Indies.

Why these banks?

Researcher Damon McCoy says, “These tend to be high risk transactions and there’s fewer banks that want to deal with high risk transactions. High risk for consumers because for instance in this case, half of the online purchases they made, never even arrived!

Reported By Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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