I got an email from Josh Mamis this morning. Josh was the publisher of the New Haven Advocate. He now does God’s work for United Way.
Hey, on top of everything else you’ve been hacked.
Great! Except I haven’t been hacked. Unfortunately my identity has been ‘borrowed’ by spammers. I am not alone.
The email Josh received used my name, but look at the ‘from’ and ‘reply to’ addresses. Totally (and to a human, obviously) bogus. Of course the weblink at the bottom is the reason this spam was sent.
So why use my name? Josh knew the email wasn’t from me, but his mail provider did not.
I can’t vouch for his ‘collectors edition’ snet.net account, but with Gmail anyone in my address book is ‘white listed.’ If I know you, Gmail assumes you can’t be spamming me.
Here’s an example that came in this morning (All these images will be more easily readable if you click on them).
Erin has suffered the same fate as me!
The better spam prevention tools become, the harder spammers work! There is no charge to send email. Email protocols were designed without considering spam or forged return addresses.
Sometimes spam will bounce back to my account because it claimed to be from a bogus geofffox.com address. Often it’s addressed to a bogus account somewhere else. So, a message from one non-existent account to another non-existent account. To spammers this wasted energy is part of the cost of doing business–close to zero!
Where I see the most spam is on my blog. Here’s an example from the five dozen I manually deleted today.
The spammers want their website’s URL mentioned to get more weight from Google. Search engines consider frequently cited sites more valuable. Internet importance is based on the friends you keep.
By sneakily connecting their product name to the word ‘scam’ this spammer was trying to rank higher than those actually calling him that! Notice this comment had absolutely nothing to do with the entry it was attached to.
Akismet, an anti spam plug-in which comes with WordPress (but is often not turned on), claims to have thwarted 807,888 spams on geofffox.com, including 15,559 this month alone! Of those 800k it only missed 91.
Akismet claims a 99.98% accuracy rate on my site. Not bad, but I still use a second anti-spam plug-in in the same way you might have a double lock on your door.
As long as there’s money to be made there will be spam. Someone’s buying the crap they’re advertising!