Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Spam is not Aunt Honey’s Fruitcake

So the demise of ISPs McColo and Intercage has brought about a noticeable decrease in the amount of spam floating around the Internet but be wary… the upcoming Christmas season is prime time for scams and spams.

A quick check of my quarantine email folder has brought up several bogus messages with a holiday themes like “Get 10 Holiday Cards on Us” or “Gas Holiday Savings at BP Exxon” and surprise surprise, the associated email domains did not really exist.

Spammers are hoping to take advantage of distracted folks and the often hectic pace of the upcoming holidays.

A recent email scam has messages that appear to come from UPS carrying a message that your package is lost. In the hustle and bustle of the season with trees to decorate, relatives to visit, screaming kids home from school (oh wait… that’s my house), an overloaded person could really believe that Aunt Honey’s fruitcake was actually lost by UPS. A few distracted clicks later and your personal info is of into the land of cyber-crooks never to return.

So when your mailbox (or quarantine message folder) is full of cyber-messages of good cheer and special holiday offers keep a keen eye open to the actual sender of the message and be sure that you really have an interest in the product before you click.

It never ceases to amaze me that somehow after all these years of warning about email trickery stealing your personal information, your time and sometimes even hijacking your computer, spam is still profitable. A University of California study showed that even by getting just 1 response for every 12 million emails sent spammers still turn a profit.

Incidentally, Aunt Honey’s fruitcake will arrive on time… it always does.


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