Spammers are capitalising on the slow economy to push financial services scams to unwary users.
Researchers at Symantec reported that financial spam flourished in May as consumers sought new ways to save money and manage debt.
Bogus real estate services and petrol discounts were among the most popular scams.
Many of the spam messages solicited services to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and manage their mortgages.
The petrol spam focused primarily on cards and coupon programmes claiming to save money at the pumps, as well as devices which claim to provide users with better mileage.
"Symantec continues to see spammers capitalising on the economic slowdown in order to harvest personal information," the company said.
"The emails are unfortunately aiming to capitalise on the economic situation and prey on those facing overwhelming financial pressures in today's economic market."
Scammers were also quick to jump on current events. Among the most popular phishing attacks in May were emails purporting to come from the US Internal Revenue Service.
The messages concerned the 'stimulus payments' being made to taxpayers this year. Users were told that, in order to obtain the payment, they would need to provide financial details to the spammer.
The earthquake in China and the cyclone in Burma provided ample opportunity for scammers to defraud well-meaning users. Symantec recorded a rash of fake charity and 419 scams in the aftermath of both disasters.
Yet another scam exploited the UEFA Champions League final. Users were persuaded to provide personal information to a phoney travel agency claiming to sell tickets for the game.
Engineer calculates that Chengdu's plan to replace streetlights with artificial moonlight would cost $100bn
Research could also apply to other 'space weather' events involving hot, fast-moving plasma
Dark matter holds the Universe together - and gravitational waves could help identify it
Addison Lee is working on autonomous taxis for commuting and pleasure