What is spam ?

“Spam is the abuse of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately”

Every once in a while some spam gets through my mailbox’s spam filter and is sitting for me to open.
I’ve never fallen victim to spammers but I know of people who have,  computer illiterates are especially prone to falling prey to these people.

So,  how do you spot a spam when the spam filters don’t,  here are some things to look out for.

  • Did you win a lottery, don’t you remember if you participated?  all you need to do to claim the winnings is provide personal information such as full name, telephone number, gender, occupation, country of origin (birthplace) and god forbid a picture of you then it’s most likely an identity theft attempt and as such it’s SPAM.
  • Did a distant relative die and you inherited large sums of money? Have you ever heard of this relative before?  all you have to do to claim the inheritance is provide personal information ..   SPAM.
  • Is some guy telling you that he has large sums of money holed up somewhere and he needs YOUR help in getting it (i.e. say that you are related to some guy who died so you can claim inheritance,  say you are some guy you are not so you can claim some money etc etc) and in return he will give you half of it?. seriously,  this guy has large sums of money or access to it and he is asking a total stranger, who is (likely) not even on the same continent, for help ?..  seriously?..   SPAM.
  • Is some person dying and he/she happens to be in possession of large amount of money/valuables and from the goodness of his/her heart is willing to give it to YOU.  Do you know this person?.   Nobody would give a random person on the internet large sums of money/valuables from the goodness of their heart,  sorry the world doesn’t work that way no matter how you lie to yourself..  this is SPAM.
  • Is some bank employee emailing you saying there is a fund transfer on hold, or a bank account has been opened in your name. Who knows, it could be your lucky day and some relative is giving you money but do you really have any relatives or friends or know of any person who would do this without prior contacting you?..  no, this is SPAM.
  • Is some bank employee asking you for help in acquiring (stealing) money from a customer of the bank or something else which would entail you getting large sums of money for doing something illegal (lying about who you are for example).  Yes,  because a bank employee would risk his job and risk being thrown in jail by sending a random internetperson an email asking for help.  No,  I would like to give bank employee’s the benefit of the doubt and claim they are smarter than that and say that this is SPAM.

And here are some other pointers.

  • Who sent the email?,   Is it from an open email service such as @live.com , @google.com , @yahoo.com or one of the thousands available?…   then it’s most likely spam,   specially if it’s supposed to be from some government/corporate guy.   Protip: Government people have government emails, same with corporate guys.
  • Are some words unnecessarily capitalized,  or the amounts involved unnecessarily detailed,   yeah either the person writing you needs to take Human Interaction 101 or it’s spam.
  • Are you referenced by name anywhere in the mail?,  or the email styled to your gender? (is it asexual,  “Dear Sir/Madam”). Is there a reason why you should be referenced by name and/or gender in the mail but are not?

And remember the golden rule of life.  If it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

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