It amazes me that people are still being roped into the phishing scams that are becoming more and more outrageous. Based on the number of Lotteries I’ve won over the last few weeks I am a multi millionaire. But that’s not all, A number of barristers, wives of dead generals and banking officials have contacted me to give me my inheritance….Oh I almost forgot, there is a FedEx package waiting for me with a bank draft of 1 million pounds and all I have to do is pay the 650 pound shipping charge. 650 to ship a bank draft, where the hell is it coming from???
Accompanying these promises of “money for nothing” is an elaborate story of some sort of murder, a car accident or painful death and an evil step father, boss or other authority figure.
I admit I get a kick out of reading some of these stories – makes me think that these people would spend their time better wring short stories about international fraud, and how some schmuck saved the day by responding to the email plea of some beautiful 19-year-old that has lost her parents in a terrible car accident and her evil uncle is threatening to take all the money in the inheritance, and possibly take over the world.
But then I get frustrated by the sincerity in which these are written and even more frustrated that some lonely old man or woman may get roped in by one of these and lose everything. I would like to do something about it, but what? Spam filters and Phishing filters are great, as long as we know what to look for, but these tools can only look for what is known, they cannot delve into the mind of the criminal to figure out what ploy will come next.
I could change my email address and start fresh, I have had the same email address for 18 years afterall. That will not solve anything though as the problem is still prevalent and will not go away. I’m not the one I’m worried about either, I can see these coming a mile away, so the question becomes, who is getting duped? Are there that many people out there that can’t see a scam, or am I just to Internet Savvy to recognize that these are well though out, compelling stories that capture the hearts, minds and greediness of those who are not so Internet savvy?
Then there is the more personal and directed email scam. The kind that can even make me pause for a moment and ponder the legitimacy of it. Any unsolicited email that I receive is immediately suspect, but I get a lot of requests for business partnerships, sell my product, etc., so much so that I begin to question the future of email as it is today. Is it becoming more of an annoyance than the benefit of its business use? How much email must you sift through every morning before getting to the email that really matters? How much time does it take you?
It can’t go on at this rate, something needs to change. There are some tools and processes that can help, but all of these seem cumbersome and not so user-friendly. The one where I can’t send someone an email until I register at their site to verify the legitimacy of my own email address. It’s true that I only have to do it once, but that is just another annoyance that I don’t need. You can get your email address signed by a Thawte or Verisign Certificate, but I’d guess that most Internet users would have trouble following the steps to implement this successfully.
How can we train the masses on the proper use of email? How can we educate enough people so that these scams are no longer lucrative? I’m not sure we can, since the telephone scam still goes on today and that has been happening for as long as I can remember.
Then there is the subscription list problem. I am on a lot of lists and many of them I actually subscribed to. Networkworld, Cisco, Juniper all send me information because I asked for it. What I didn’t ask for is Giant Blueberry plants or exclusive access to Directbuy. I am sick and tired of deleting these emails and I am sick and tired of entering my email address to unsubscribe, especially when I’m not sure that they don’t turn around and sell my “verified” email to some other email list.
No thank you I do not want to listen to you Free webinar on whatever you are trying to sell. Free Webinar!!!! That is ludicrous – you are trying to sell me something, of course its free. Free is a word that has lost on meaning on the Internet and it is a concept that has devalued a lot of products and services that should cost money. The world cannot live on advertising alone! Now am starting to rant, which is my queue to stop writing for a while. I’ve got myself a little worked up and I just received notice that the International Police Authority has a Consignment box for me that is apparently full of money so I must go and collect it.