PEI

Charlottetown businesses hit by spam

The Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce is reviewing how it publishes member information after chamber members received an unsolicited email last week from an online sales company.

The Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce is reviewing how it publishes member information after chamber members received an unsolicited email last week from an online sales company.

The email from the online advertising company went out last Thursday. The company used readily available email addresses of chamber members published on the group's website. Executive director Kathy Hambly told CBC News Thursday the chamber is rethinking how it publishes contact information for its members.

"The world is changing very drastically and dramatically and quickly and as the chamber of commerce, like any other organization, we're going to have to learn, we're going to have to manage, we're going to have to understand how we best communicate and how we manage our members' information," said Hambly.

Charlottetown web developer John Morris said he was surprised the chamber publishes emails in a format that makes it easy for web spiders to crawl the site and gather emails. There is an easy fix, he said: an online contact form to allow people to get in touch with members.

"The idea is that by filling out the form you'll actually send off an email to whatever company," said Morris.

"They will receive all the information that you filled out in an email without the person who filled out the form ever receiving the company's contact information or email information."

The chamber's board will address the issue at a meeting next week.