Phishing Licences

My Spam folder is filling up with urgent messages these days. Most purportedly from retailer Amazon. Though if they really were urgent, they wouldn’t be flagged as spam.

I wonder why the spammers are so sloppy in their pitches. Maybe it is that their time is valuable. Why waste it on people with brains?

The latest announcement, not from an Amazon email, tells me my order has arrived. If I had ordered something, wouldn’t I know that already? And why am I receiving an email in February with a November order date? And what was the item? An order number just isn’t good enough for me. Maybe I’m the suspicious type.

Each of the emails has several links. I’m sure something nasty would happen (virus, malware, ransomware) if I were to click on them for more information about my shipment.

There is also the one thanking me for my recent purchases, offering a gift card in exchange for filling out a short survey. I don’t know how many times I have received a “final notice” on that one. Must be a few times since they are still promising to serve me better in 2018.

Apparently, I also have an unclaimed $150 gift card waiting for me if only I will just click. It’s been waiting for validation since January 12. I’ve received Amazon gift cards in the past. They were just a code I could enter on the Amazon website. I didn’t have to click any dubious links. Pardon me for being a little suspicious.

The email telling me there is a package that needs to be delivered also doesn’t tempt me. I doubt Amazon has lost my address since last week.

Somewhere, someone must be falling for these schemes or there wouldn’t be so many of them. I guess there is no licence required to surf the internet – and sometimes the phishing attempts can be quite convincing.

Amazon isn’t the only major retailer spammers have been using to try and entice me to click on their malicious links. Apple and Wal Mart are also supposedly sending me emails.

Apple has written several times to tell me of recent purchases at their app store and to tell me my Apple account has been frozen. I presume that one is due to suspicious activity, though I don’t know for sure given that I didn’t open it. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t use Apple products. They don’t have any information stored at their store that would have me worried about suspicious activity – I have no credit card information on file with them.

As for Wal Mart, there are none in Germany. That makes any purchases highly unlikely I am going to have any dealings with them.

At least my email provider usually identifies these emails as the junk they are. But I am left with a nagging question.

How many millions of people get taken in by this form of criminal activity? What is the amount “earned” by those sending out the messages? Is it billions? Is this big business?

Or is this just a few people trying to make a fast buck and failing miserably.

I wonder how I can find out?


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