Image courtesy of http://stopspam.org
I have had an email address for over 20 years now. And in that time, I have subscribed to a lot of newsletters. And signed up for many website services. And I have to finally admit that I discriminate against spam. It has been filling up my email box for so long that I hardly ever notice it, although every now and then I open some of it just for kicks.
So why do we get spam? According to Wikipedia, “
Commercialization of the internet and integration of electronic mail as an accessible means of communication has another face – the influx of unwanted information and mails. As the Internet started to gain popularity in the early 1990s, it was quickly recognized as an excellent advertising tool. At practically no cost, a person can use the Internet to send an email message to thousands of people. These unsolicited junk electronic mails came to be called ‘Spam’. History of spam is intertwined with the history of electronic mail.
While the linguistic significance of the usage of the word ‘spam’ is attributed to the British comedy troupe Monty Python in a now legendary sketch from their Flying Circus TV series, in which a group of Vikings sing a chorus of “SPAM, SPAM, SPAM…” at increasing volumes, the historic significance lies in it being adopted to refer to unsolicited commercial electronic mail sent to a large number of addresses, in what was seen as drowning out normal communication on the Internet.
Why does it suck? Because I get messages like this:
I have registered your ATM CARD of US$4.5Mwith DHL Courier Company with
registration code of(Shipment Code awb 33xzs).please Contact with delivery
information such as,Your Name, Your Address and Your Telephone Number:
Shiping company Office: Note you are to pay $139.00 for delivery charge.
Name of Dir:Mohamed Ahmed.
First off, DO NOT send any information to the email in this message. In fact, you probably do know better, but never send any response to messages like this no matter how desperate you may be to win the lottery.
Interesting story. I once did decide to respond to one of these phishers. It went quite well. They were not asking me to send money right away. They asked me to cash checks for them and send them a part of the funds via Western Union. Man was that fun. I took the check to the bank and deposited it. For a few days, almost a week; I had a bunch of money in my checking account. It looked cool.
I then proceeded to stall on sending the funds. They would email me and ask me where the money was, and I would be like, “I am still waiting for it to clear, please be patient.” And then later I even told them I sent it, but I didn’t know what the problem was, maybe they should check with Western Union. And even later then that, I reported the entire incident to the FBI. An agent actually contacted me to take a report and gather the email chain. What fun!
I found out later that this was a dangerous course of action. That sometimes these scams are run by criminal organizations who actually have the cahunas to come out in person and try to get their money. I also found out that there are people who are working to repel the efforts of said criminals by actually taking the bait like I did and then using some advanced computing skills to track down the perpetrators.
Spam is worthy of my efforts to discriminate against it. Although, like most things that I discriminate against; usually the sum total of my efforts to discriminate against something involves writing a post against it and then going back to ignoring it.
Just for the record, I do not like Spam the pseudomeat that is sold in cans by Hormel either. It it too salty.