Here’s how to combat e-mail spam scams

It looks like the FBI has been busy lately sending e-mails to people telling them they need their assistance in an investigation.

The FBI is on a hiring spree(, but spam is not a recruiting tool.

The e-mail, pretending to be from the FBI, promises to release the money that you were promised when you were, get this, “transacting with … some impostors claiming to be The Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

The FBI Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division does not exist, the FBI says in a press release on this topic. Nor does the FBI have a unit in Nigeria – although because most of this garbage originates there, that might not be such a bad idea.

Many of the people who get these e-mails are upset by them. Here’s part of an e-mail I recently received from Hector Pequeno, a fed-up reader:

“I am constantly almost daily dealing with e-mails like this. Where are they getting my address? Should I be concerned? Is there an organization I should forward these to so they would be aware? Should I just delete and ignore?”

Let me answer these questions:
Where do they get your address?

E-mail addresses are easily culled from all sorts of sources. People who enter drawings, make purchases online or sign online petitions can get their e-mail into a list sold to spam operations. Sometimes a person who legitimately has your e-mail is the victim of a computer hijacking. That lets all the people in their address book get bombarded with spam.

If your e-mail appears anywhere on the Internet, you are fair game. It’s likely one of the reasons I get a few hundred spam e-mails every day.

Another way to get e-mails is through what the Federal Trade Commission has called a “dictionary attack.” The spammer creates a list of letter and number strings in front of an “@” sign and common domain name. That generates millions of spam e-mails, some of which hit valid addresses.


This entry was posted in 419 scam, 419 Scam fraud, email spam, Nigerian Scam, Nigerian Spam, scam, spam. Bookmark the permalink.

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