Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spammer Scammers: A Love Story

As some of you may have noticed, I have spent a lot of time on the ol' internet of late. When you can't work because of an injury, the internet is an excellent way to pass the time. A seemingly endless source of information, some of it factual, others laughably inaccurate. Most of it gold.

You may remember I had a bit to say a while ago on the subject of spam emails. Since then, I have encountered the best spam scam I have ever seen in my entire life. Vegatrain was checking his junk mail folder and found that he had received an email offering 'compersation for scam victims' [sic].

I cannot express how much I love this.

At first, I was slightly amazed at the gall of it. A scam that includes the word scam in its subject header? And doesn't even spell compensation correctly? Surely, no-one would fall for that. But then I realised the simple brilliance of it. Here, you have an email scam that specifically appeals to people who have already proved that they are gullible enough to fall for email scams. Where most people would look at an email offering them infinite riches in exchange for little more than their credit card details and simply scoff, this email is appealing to the exact people who are most likely to go, "Well! It's about time I was compensated for all those scams! Here's my name, bank account details and my mother's maiden name."

Sheer genius.

And sure, this isn't exactly an ethical way to rake in the riches. But in my opinion, if you are thinking lazily enough to fall for something as ridiculous as that, you probably deserve to learn your lesson.

I have seen something similar on ebay, one of my favourite places on the internet. While searching for whatever it is I'm after (usually badges, occasionally mittens or shoes), I often see random products mysteriously labelled as 'punk/emo', as I mentioned briefly in this entry. On something like a spiked wrist cuff, that seems reasonable. But on a Flight of the Conchords badge set? Or any kind of product that features Hannah Montana? It seems a tad more random. But since writing that last entry, I have thought a bit more about this and have come to the conclusion that this too is brilliant.

Think about it - this kind of tagging specifically targets people who have simply typed punk/emo into the search engine when the only thing they know about those subcultures is that they want to be a part of them. They buy something ridiculous, get laughed at and then (hopefully) learn a valuable, much needed lesson. And the seller makes a profit!

Say what you will about capitalism, but when it is used to take of advantage of people who really only have themselves to blame, I can't do anything but embrace it like a warm kitten.

-Smackie Onassis

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