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Scams and Spams – Watch Out!

Friday, April 13th, 2012 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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Jerry from Houston, TX writes:

What is the difference between scamming and spamming?

Hi Jerry, Your question probably puzzles many people. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a scam as “a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation”. The act of scamming has been in existence for eons. I guess Italian mob or mafia have been the most successful at this. Anyways, with the advent of technology and email, scamming also came into the hi-tech world. This when spamming got invented.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a spam as “an unsolicited usually commercial email, sent to a large number of addresses“. From this definition, it doesn’t seem like spamming has any illegal connotations.

Yet, it does!

To understand how spamming works. You simply have to go to your spam folder. Everyday, I get hundreds of spam emails that my spam filter automatically directs into the Spam folder. After I open one, there is usually a link to an known/unknown website, an advertisement from a legal/illegal website, or a well crafted message from some unknown king in a remote African country. As you might have noticed, spams vary from legal to illegal and they can have very diverse subjects.

Famous Spams

Some of the popular and successfully spams are as follows:

  • Work from home scams
  • Nigerian scams
Spam that is a Scam - Nigerian

Spam that is a Scam - Nigerian

  • Viagra scams
  • Lottery winning scams etc
  • Fake job offer scams
Fake Job Offer

Major Scam: Fake Job Offer

People that react to such emails are motivated by greed and, to a large extent, stupidity. The problem is that as humans, greed comes naturally to all of us, and this is why we see spammers thriving. Just remember, if something is too good to be true, then it’s probably a scam!

Tips to Reduce Spam

To reduce your spam, report emails as Spam. When you do this, the Spam filter of your email client will automatically redirect all such emails to the Spam folder. Another good practice is not to subscribe or give your email. Now, I realize you can’t always refrain from giving away your email ID. However, if you are filling up a form or subscribing to a web site, consider the reputation of the site first. For example, Amazon.com would not give away email IDs. Similarly, subscribing to WorldStart is also safe. The reputation of the site matters. There are those sites that’ll share your email ID with other websites, and then suddenly you’ll have a barrage of unsolicted mails, i.e. SPAM! For more tips on how to avoid spam, read the following WorldStart tips:

Lastly, since you asked about spamming, you should also know about hacking and various other Internet security issues. Steve, from WorldStart, has written a fabulous eBook that discusses these and other relevant Internet security issues. Read the Internet Security Survival Guide.

~Rupen Sharma

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One Response to “Scams and Spams – Watch Out!”

  1. Jo Gay says:

    The ebook http://http//www.worldstart.com/ebook_sample/ doesn’t open the Survival Guide. I get an error message that IE cannot display the webpage.

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