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John Simkin

Latest Email Scam

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According to BlackSpider Technologies, spammers are firing off 19,000 emails a day warning users a day warning users that they have installed child pornography on their computer and demanding £50 not to inform the police. The advice if you get the email is to ignore this request.

http://www.blackspider.com/

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The advice is to ignore the request? How about informing the cops as this is blackmail?

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Derek writes:

The advice is to ignore the request? How about informing the cops as this is blackmail?

The cops probably know all about it. I have a friend in the police, a Detective Chief Inspector, who specialises in this kind of thing. They have lots of really unpleasant and serious crimes to deal with as well as scams of this sort. If you fall for such a scam, well...

When the infamous "419" letters from Nigeria began to appear a few years ago you may remember that we were advised to report them to the National Criminail Intelligence Service: http://www.ncis.co.uk

but 419 letters are now so common that you are advised only to notify the NCIS if they appear to be linked to extraordinary activities such as terrorism.

But see the article "Turning the tables on Nigeria's email conmen":

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3887493.stm

I used to receive dozens of scam emails every week, purporting to come from Barclays Bank, the Halifax, eBay, the Woolwich etc, requesting me to visit a website and reveal my account details. They've stopped for the moment as I've now changed my email address - I had to as it was hijacked by spammers. But let's see how long it takes for them to track down my new address...

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I fear that changing your email is only short term solution. Ignoring them and throwing them out is the best way in dealing with these kind of emails. The spamfilter I use does not stop all of them. So I spent most of my 'email time' not reading or writing email but throwing spam emails away! That is a completely waste of my time but so far the only way that slighty works. Downside, except for the loss of time, is the fact that sometimes I throw away emails that are not spam... B)

Edited by Marco Koene

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Marco writes:

Downside, except for the loss of time, is the fact that sometimes I throw away emails that are not spam...

Yes, I do that too - which has worried me a bit as a business owner that trades via the Web. But, having looked at the emails that our business has received over the last year, most of them have not turned into sales. Serious customers phone or fax us, and many customers still know how to write a letter, put it in a stamped and properly addressed envelope and post it :-))

Marco writes:

Ignoring them and throwing them out is the best way in dealing with these kind of emails.

We did that, but the flood of bounced emails became so enormous that it locked up our mail box every day and we we forced to suspend our email address. I may activate it again in a few months just to see what happens. We have a backup address, however, which is currently active and more secure.

Ours was not the usual problem, i.e. the normal daily dose of ads for dirty websites, ads for medication, offers from Nigerian money launderers, etc. We could cope with that by using a good filtering program, MailWasher Pro. Our problem was that our address was being spoofed by dozens of spammers as their reply address, so that every day we were receiving hundreds of bounced emails from dead addresses and lots of irate emails of the "how dare you spam me" variety from people who received the rubbish that the spammers sent them. All the spammers had to do was copy our prominently displayed business email address from our website - and, no, it wasn't preceded by "mailto" and it wasn't clickable. Moral: Don't display your email address at your website! Use a contact form.

Apart from the flood of spam, most email enquiries we receive are frivolous, and a very high percentage seem to come from people who are illiterate. Now that I have munged our email address into a contact form so that it is not so readily visible, the spam has stopped and now mainly serious people are writing to us by email.

Peace at last! (For a while, anyway.)

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Warning re Bulletin Boards

It has just come to my notice that a bulletin board at one of the websites that I maintain has been blasted with emails from sources that have been identified as emanating from credit card fraudsters and hackers. The fraudsters / hackers send a message to the bulletin board that contains a clickable link to a website where credit card details might be requested or where information on how to generate fake credit cards might be viewed, and this information is then picked up and disseminated further by search engines such as Google. I immediately zapped the bulletin board - which was actually a hangover from a facility that we had stopped using some time ago and were no longer watching closely. If you maintain a bulletin board it is essential to filter incoming emails regularly and rigorously.

Members of this forum may recall my earlier warning about displaying your email address prominently at your website, especially in clickable "@" format. My old business email address was hijacked in July this year as a result of our address being prominently displayed at our website and was rendered useless within a matter of days. We no longer display our address at our website. It is munged into a contact form instead. I have received emails from many sources, business and education, indicating that such spam hijacks are on the increase, i.e. whereby the spammer spoofs your address as their return address so that you receive all the bounces and irate replies.

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