Spam, Inglorious Spam

Blatant Fraud Spam
Blatant Fraud Spam

One of the great many things that baffles me is why some types of spam still exist. I’m not talking about spam coming almost continuously from legitimate companies offering genuine products and services. That junk is grossly annoying. And it’s a horrible time-waster. But at least it’s somewhat honest.

I’m also not talking about scams cleverly crafted to look like they offer worthwhile products from legitimate companies when they don’t. Many people are busy. They can’t spend a lot of time checking everything out. So I understand why some people fall for something meticulously designed to appear legit.

My slight paranoia and colossal neuroses prevent me from being duped by that stuff. (Thankfully, some good comes from my disquietude.) But not everyone is lucky enough to benefit from the same inoculating angst.

Unbelievable, but Occasionally Believed Fraud

What I can’t understand is why fraudsters continue to spew some of the more blatant of swindles into inboxes. Some of these schemes are so patently false as to fool only the winner of the Global Gullible Person of the Year Award.

(I don’t know if there really is a Global Gullible Person of the Year Award. It may not go by that name, but I assume there is something like it because there is an award for pretty well everything. Unfortunately, I cancelled my cable tv long ago so I can’t watch the awards show. If you are interested, I suspect you can find the Gullible People’s Award Show on Fox.)

Nevertheless, somebody must buy this stuff. I understand that sending millions of spam emails is easy and ridiculously cheap, but it isn’t totally free or effortless. If spammers never trick anyone into sending them money they would have stopped long ago. They haven’t.

You’ve probably seen various versions of each of the following emails. (I changed the product/service names and details to protect the guilty.) How is it possible that anyone falls for them?

Scam Spam Variants

The following list is not exhaustive, but representative of the types of spam I received several times a day until I got much more aggressive with my spam blocking.

Anatomical Scam Spam

  • Dong B’Long, an amazing cream that will greatly increase the length and width of your penis, while enabling you to have rock-solid erections. Apparently, it isn’t necessary to have a penis to gain the benefits of this product because both men and women receive this spam. (If there really is a product named Dong B’Long I hope the vendor will accept my apologies for impugning its product’s inane name.)
  • Boob B’Huge, an invigorating balm that will greatly enlarge and firm your breasts. Again, spammers send this to both men and women. Go figure. (As with Dong B’Long, I made up the name “Boob B’Huge.” If there really is a product named that I have this to say to the vendor: Really? I mean, really? What the heck is wrong with you?)

Financial Scam Spam

  • Mrs. Shaydee Shaykdowne, a grieving widow from Nigeria whose husband willed her $5-million. She will share her wealth with you if you front her the $5,000 that the evil, three-eyed, leprosy-ridden bureaucrats demand before they will release the funds. (If there really are any evil, three-eyed, leprosy-ridden bureaucrats, you have my sympathies, but someone has to be a bureaucrat. Oh, and Mrs. Shaydee Shaykdowne: You might want to operate under another pseudonym if you want me to buy into your scheme. Oh, and please send me a provocative photograph of yourself. It might win me over. I’m a lonely guy.)
  • Your bank, which recently detected a security breach against your account, has frozen all of your accounts until you send them your name, address, birthdate, telephone number, bank branch and account numbers, your online banking user name and password, your safe deposit box number, and a key to the box. It’s strange that your bank doesn’t know your name and account numbers, but these things happen, I guess. (The security breach must have affected your bank’s email server because you’re supposed to send this information to a gmail account.)

That last one astounds me. I would have thought that, after people receive a dozen or so similar requests from banks they have no association with, they would have figured out that the one email that, by chance, purported to come from their bank was also a fraud. But somebody must be falling for this crap. (I imagine the thinking goes, “Yeah, of course all of those other ones were frauds. But this one came from the bank I deal with. How would they know it was my bank if it wasn’t legit?”)

Public Service Message

If you are considering sending all of the information requested in one of those “bank” phishing expeditions, please do yourself a favour. Before sending your personal data to the spammer, empty your bank accounts and send all of your cash to me. The end-result will be the same, but you’ll feel better knowing you sent your money to an honest guy rather than rewarding those crooks.

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