Sunday, January 11, 2009

Outdated spams and outed scams

While being good at filtering offers of medication, body enlargements, $'s from estates, and many others, the spam filters also had to get good at identifying scam offers of funding grants via emails. "We bring to your notice the decision by the board of trustees of The European Union to choose you as one of the final recipients of a cash grant/donation for your own personal, educational, and business development (SME funding). To promote growth and creating new jobs in the European economy, we are giving out a yearly donation of £402,000.00 (four hundred and two thousand pounds) to 10 lucky recipients who have been selected from over 25,000 websites all over the globe, as funding/aid from the European Union, European Commission, and the United Nations in accordance with enabling acts of Parliament". The email further gave a contact at EU offices.

This scam originated may be one year ago, and has been outed. Then, why do these emails continue to circulate? Similarly, one gets spam comments on ancient blog entries that presumably hardly anyone reads. Is there non-zero utility in scamming via outed scams and outdated blogs?

3 Comments:

Blogger Suresh said...

well there are always new people getting on the internet and unaware of these scams. There are many people who haven't heard of the 419 scam and might even fall for it.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Mohammad Mahdian said...

A better example is the Nigerian scam, which still has versions circulating around.

What's more interesting to me is not that there are naive people that respond to such emails, it's that CS/AI has been unable to come up with algorithms that can detect variants of this story!

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like yet another game of three parties: scammers, email users and email filters. Email users fall for the scams anew. Scammers have nearly zero cost and nonzero success rate. The filters, well, they fail sporadically on even old scam!

-- metoo

3:54 AM  

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