Scammers everywhere!

It is a day as any other, you open your computer just to see a new email notification. Eagerly you open it just to find out it is an Apple receipt, though the email address seems slightly off. Or maybe it is an email from “an old friend” telling you about their tragic story and how they need you to send them money. Sounds familiar? Then you are probably one out of thousands of people whose email address has been acquired by internet scammers. Most of us have been taught to detect these kinds of emails almost immediately and for the most part, you might not even notice these emails since they are most likely going to end up in your spam folder. So, could it be that they are harmless, or are they still a threat to the internet safety of many?

A few examples of the spam I have been receiving

At first, I thought that these emails must be useless since it is easy to spot them. But then I realized that being twentyone years old, I could be considered somewhat of an internet native. Not everyone has had an email account since they were six years old, not everyone is as acquainted with the internet protocols as the people from my generation. Besides, if I still receive at least three scam emails a day, they must be somehow fruitful. Otherwise, why would they keep frantically attempt to deceit me if no one fell for their hoax?

I know that after reading this it might look like I have been receiving these kinds of emails for a long time. To a certain extent, it is true, I have found scam emails in my mailbox before, however, it was never as bad as it has gotten since the quarantine started. This fluctuation of scam emails must be due to the fact people have been staying at home and browsing through there internet more than ever before. So, even when it is incredibly unethical (not to mention annoying) I do understand why these cockroaches have been working at full power these past few months. 

After venting my frustration at this situation, I think it is important to question how did this scam networks get my email address. After searching this question in google I came across a few answers which are:

  1. Through tools to scan the web and harvest email addresses
  2. Guessing through combining common names with common domains
  3. Stealing your friend’s contact list
  4. Legally and illegally buying lists from websites[1]

With this information in mind, I wish I could know how exactly was it that these spammers got my email address, that way I could try to protect myself from those strategies. I guess one thing I can do regardless of how they got my address is to be more careful and try to limit the times I share it, to only what is necessary. But since it is merely impossible to find that out, I will have to just keep ignoring and deleting those emails. 

  [1] Blakemore, Eve. “How do spammers get my email address?”. Microsoft.com. https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2010/08/06/how-do-spammers-get-my-email-address/#:~:text=Spammers%20and%20cybercriminals%20use%20sophisticated,pair%20them%20with%20common%20domains. (accessed October 12th, 2020)

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1 Comment

  • BenvanYperen
    Posted October 14, 2020 at 1:17 pm 0Likes

    Know that your provider probably blocks a lot more spams. I know that a few years ago KPN blocked as many spam-mails as there where normal mails. Spammers don’t send the mails themselves, they have computer programs doing that for them. It doesn’t cost much and if you send 100.000 mails and you get 10 hits is worth it for them. That’s why you get so many mails.

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