Monday, July 20, 2009

Nigerian 419 revisited

Ken has a lot of fun using Nigerian 419 scammers as unwitting collaborators for some impromptu literary efforts. But he's fully aware of the dangers that such spammers represent and takes appropriate precautions.

Our last post was about Ken's latest spoof, and shortly after that results of a survey by the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) came to my attention. In our last post we made two assumptions that apparently aren't true.

1) Most people are familiar with the Nigerian 419 scam, and would never fall for it.
2) Most people are aware of the dangers of spamming.

According to the survey, 17% said they responded by mistake. OK, we all make them. But look at the other figures: 13% didn't know why they responded. Worse, 13% sent a note back ( primarily to complain and ask to be removed from the list). Of course, they weren't aware that by responding, they confirmed that their email address was real, making it valuable as resell item to other spammers.

Almost as incredible were the 12% that admitted they were interested in the products. I don't even know where to start. But keep that stat in mind as you clean out your inbox of emails for "V!agra" "Hot women in your area" and of course, missives involving Nigerian Ministers of the Interior.

And finally, there was a significant percentage that clicked on the links "just to see what would happen." Wow. It's sort of like seeing a land mine and stepping on it anyway just to see what would happen.

Apparently, there's still a lot of ignorance out there. So let's issue a disclaimer for Ken's Nigerian hijinx. Unless you really know what you're doing, do not try this at home. Especially if you click on things just to see what happens. People do get sucked into the scam, and many of them do lose all their money. Our goal is to show the scam for what it is by pointing out the absurdity of the claims.

But please: leave this kind of thing to Roy Rogers, Clark Kent, Boris Karloff and the others who know what they're doing.

- Ralph

Day 100 of the WJMA Podwatch.

No comments:

Post a Comment