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Every now and then, when I get a new batch of spam emails (which happens with monotonous regularity), I wonder who is clicking on those links to purchase products when they get spam emails offering great deals.
Are there actually that many guys out there with erectile problems? Are there really that many people out there who would buy medications sight unseen over the Internet? Do people really think that super cheap perfume and watches are actually going to be quality products worth buying? Are they really confident that they are even going to get anything delivered to them for their money? Or that the amazing health insurance deal they just signed up for (and paid a few months in advance for) will actually offer them any cover at all?
And then there's the lottery wins. How many people believe that they, out of the blue, have actually won millions of dollars in a lottery they never entered in the first place? And amazingly, it seems, can win two or three lotteries per week! Who is THAT naive? Or maybe believe that the tax department have made a mistake and want to give them a refund via email.
Let's not forget the emails announcing the unexpected windfalls from deceased people they never knew. Supposed solicitors send them emails informing them that some person, somewhere in the world is supposed to have bequeathed a huge sum of money to them, for no apparent reason.
Who believes stories like these?
And do people who buy products from spammers really believe that the spammers are actually going to use their credit card details responsibly and not use those details for other purposes?
Hmmm, maybe I've been in this business for too long. But to me they all seem obviously fake and certainly a dodgy way to do any sort of
business. I steer well & truly clear of them. Especially when it comes to medications. If I bought some pills over the Internet, from some
place that sent me an email that I didn't ask for, how could I be sure I'm getting what I paid for? If I swallowed that little blue pill that
arrived in the post after I bought it online, how could I be sure that it would only make a certain part of my body stiff, and not my whole
body stiff because it actually contains cyanide and killed me? Its one thing to buy a watch that turns out not to be what I expected, but
medicines are a completely different matter!
I can't help but think if people didn't fall for these tricks, weren't so greedy, and therefore didn't click on the link or open the attachment that came with the email, we would see the volume of spam decrease dramatically. There must be lots of money to be made in this business, otherwise the bad guys would give it up and move on to something more lucrative. But somebody somewhere must be clicking on those links, opening those attachments, and responding to big windfall notices. In fact a lot of people must be doing it!
So if you're buying goods & services from unsolicited emails, please stop doing it. If you believe emails telling you you've won a stack of
money out of the blue, please don't be so naive. Ignore and delete them.
Ah, if only we could get that message out to everybody on the Internet, and have them take heed. It shouldn't be too hard. But I guess human nature being what it is, people will continue to be sucked into scams & dodgy deals.
It just frustrates me sometimes. Spam emails should not be anywhere near as successful as they are.
Senior Cybercrime Research Analyst
Author ESET Research, ESET