June 29, 2017

Let Us Spam You, Please

One of the e-commerce buzz phrases is “permission based marketing,” and spammers are latching on to the concept in a sneaky way. In a ploy to collect email addresses, this band of spammers offers a Steve Irwin video tribute. Price of admission: your email address and an agreement to let them spam you.

The heralded Crocodile Hunter, who was the victim of the divine irony of death by stingray September 4th, is just one of the video tributes offered up by the spammers. Also on the marquee is an homage to the victims of 9/11 and the recently forlorn Anna Nicole Smith.

The emails invite the recipient to watch the videos, accessible by entering their email addresses. Recipients are also invited to send the video to five friends, a spamvitation one’s friends may be none too happy about.

Sophos points out that the webpage to which recipients are redirected contains a shady privacy policy that is quite up front about how there is no privacy policy. Your information and your friends’ information are for sale.

Through the policy, the website operator reserves the right to send “personalized marketing information via electronic delivery” (that means spam), “targeted advertising” (spam), and to “sell and/or license the personal information” provided to third party businesses (so others can spam you).

“The message is simple: don’t stitch up your friends by dishing out their email addresses, no matter how keen you think they might be, and always think carefully before giving your email address to any website especially if it has just spammed you,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

Websites like this are preying on people’s interest in news stories like the death of Steve Irwin and the troubled life of Anna Nicole Smith in their attempt to collect email addresses.

“If you really can’t resist, then be sure to read the small print. Your personal information is valuable, so be wary of giving companies the right to collect it and then to dispose of it however they want.”

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