Spam Email – The Same Old Tricks

A few years ago articles about spam or unsolicited email messages were in newspapers all the time. People feared that spam would overwhelm the Internet. Since then things have calmed down and I have not read much about it recently.

Part of it is that email filters have improved and most spam is trapped before delivery. My Yahoo and Gmail accounts both have spam boxes that are emptied regularly. A year ago I used to accumulate over 1,000 messages a week in my Yahoo spam box alone. Today I “only” have 313 in Yahoo but another 761 in Gmail.

Sometimes the filters are too aggressive. I remember almost losing a client in my consulting business because he wrote “we will pay you $ XXX” and my email promptly dumped it in the spam box. I said I didn’t get his mail and almost lost the job.

Only last week an important message from my bank was dumped in the spam box even though it was from a known email address. That caused me some stress and annoyance.

Still some notorious spam schemes get through the filters. Currently my Yahoo Inbox contains:

  • A variation on the famous Nigerian bank scam where a fake bank officer tries to get your cooperation to retrieve some finds. But this one is about a bank in China.
  • A fake email from the American Internal Revenue Service telling me I must go to some web site to update personal information, and
  • Something similar purporting to come from PayPal.

I am surprised that Yahoo email did not catch all of them. They are so obvious. But even my suspicious heart skipped a beat when I saw a message with the subject “Notice of Underreported Income”.

Yahoo offers “improved spam filtering” if you pay them for an upgraded account. I wonder if they let a few known spam messages through to their free accounts to make a point.

I created a new email account for “BKKPhotographer” and it has not received any spam. I have not published the address so no spammers have harvested it from web sites or other peoples’ address books. I have had my main Yahoo and Gmail accounts so long that the address must be in many places.

Spam is still an annoyance but it no longer seems to be bringing the Internet to its knees. The old technology is amazingly resilient and adaptable.

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