I’ve been wanting to do this post for some time; how silly spam truly is and how it doesn’t seem to achieve anything when you target those who are a little more “savvy” than those who didn’t take any form of interest in computing.
It’s interesting, that spam has come so far, yet not very far at all. See, every 6 or so years, we’ll see something truly innovative in spam. No, really!
Let’s think about it. When the internet first came about, spam was plausible. You couldn’t see the person on the other end, thus someone with some really good social engineering skills could easily persuade you to click a bad link, or to give your details.
In this day and age, does spam even work any more? Well apparently it does!
I want you to think back many years to your very first encounter with spam. What was it? My first encounter with spam wasn’t from the internet. Mine taught me a lot about the world, it’s those scratch off panel things that come with the newspapers.
“Scratch here for your chance to win up to £100,000.” You win £100! Woah!! That’s big money for this 7 year old! I go running to ask if I could have the phone, as I just won £100! I demand to get my £100 and get my chocolate bars and video games… or whatever I was into as a kid!
“Don’t be silly. This won’t get you anywhere. It’s junk mail. Look, you have to pay a premium on the phone line just for the ‘chance to get your £100 prize’”.
Of course, the person giving me this advice was right.
Let’s move on in the years and come to 2014. That’s right, the present year. After having had so much spam shoved down my throat, I am immune to it. I attempt to do the necessary checks to see if someone is a legitimate commenter or if they are a spammer. It’s not always easy, as some people are really good at spamming. So far, I think I’ve done a good enough job on GeekOut South-West!
Today, I had one of the most interesting bits of spam I’ve had in ages. First of its kind for GeekOut South-West. Here it is:
“I’m а 39 years old aոɗ working at the university (Occupational Therapy).
In my spare time I’m trying to teach myself Bеngali. I’ve been there аnd look
forward to goo tɦere sometime iո the future.
I love to rеad, preferably on my ebοօk reader.
I reаlly lovе tto watch How I Met Your Mother and Tɦe Vampire Diаries as well as documеntaries
abߋut anүthing technolօgical. I like Archery.”
Here’s what’s interested me about this one. The website that these 3 comments came from put all 3 comments on the same post. There were 3 different users who did this and yes, we’ve got their information. It’s interesting…
It makes me think: Has my account been compromised in some way, too? I seriously doubt it has, but perhaps spamming has become entirely automated now-a-days, to where it’s nothing more than a pain than anything else.
Perhaps what I’m trying to say is: Some spam is beyond crazy, that it makes me think that there truly –is– no point to them. How can people fall for them? Yet they do.
See, spam used to be there to get people to click a dodgy link or to give their money away. They still exist, but I wonder if these types of spam are more to be a nuisance now. Let’s think of another type of spam, the infamous chain-mails.
There’s a truly fascinating one online which states that you should not break the chain-mail as it is a “Novena by Mother Teresa that started in 1952. It has never been broken.” Wh-WHAT!? Never been broken since 1952!? I’m beyond impressed by this point.
You can see more of the Mother Teresa chain-mail on the website hoax-slayer.
This is the part that baffles me more than the chain-mails themselves.
People are still getting scammed. I’m sure we’ve all made a mistake with say, a comment that seems legitimate but isn’t. That isn’t so bad, unless that hoax comment leads you to some really dangerous website that is there just to get viruses into your system.
Instead, I’m baffled by the people who send money to the 419 scammers. The problem is, it’s usually people who should be savvier than they are. So the question is: Do we teach them, or do we let them make these mistakes?
Of course, the answer would be to teach them, but sometimes, it feels so futile. For every one person who is taught, there’s another 100 who are falling for these scams on a regular basis.
Yes, spam still exists and no, I’d not eat it. Sorry, Spam!
What can we do?
People of the internet. It’s your internet and it’s time to claim it back from the absolute crap that’s out there. Some people may read this post and say “Well jeez, this post is some of the absolute crap” and that’s fine. You’re welcome to an opinion on my writing style, but at least this site doesn’t look to cause problems.
YouTube still gets chain-mails. We’re still getting 419 scams and yes, lottery scams too. Usually from lotteries that we didn’t know existed!
So, I invite all of you to share in my joy: Share with us the spammiest spam mail you’ve ever received! Please make sure any links are removed from the post to ensure protection of everyone, but please do give us a comment with any crazy spams you’ve had.
Perhaps I’ll update this post from time to time with new spam that is just worth showing the world!