Is this spam?

I have a relatively uncommon last name – I am aware of a few people with it who I’m not related to, but only a few.

This morning I got an email at my main account (firstnamelastname at verizon) from Stan [mylastname], with the email address semylastname at gmail. I did open it in case it was from a long lost relative, but it seemed to be some glurgy something or other, so I marked it as spam. Just got *another * email from this mystery address, which I tagged as spam without opening.

I assume whoever this is is doing some kind of *lastname addressing – though can’t imagine why they’d use my last name which is, as I said, rather uncommon – and am not sure why they’d hit me. Yes, I’m running a virus scan – is there anything else I need to be paranoid about?

(emphasis added)
You’ve just demonstrated why they would use your last name.

Yeah, I get that – my question is, by opening it, might anything have happened to my computer that a virus scan won’t find?

I presume that you’re not loading images automatically in emails when you open them?

If you are, you may be triggering an ‘HTML bug’, which is a tiny image referenced in an HTML email. Spammers send these references out in spam messages to verify that recipients’ email addresses are live. Each spam email gets a reference to an image with a different name, and the spammer keeps track of which images were referenced in which emails. When the email is opened and the image is downloaded from the spammer’s remote server, the identity of the downloaded image is noted. The spammer matches it to your email address, cackles in glee, and adds your address to the list of real working addresses that can be sold for profit to other spammers.

(Bolding mine)

Ah, it’s good to have a reminder in comprehensible terms of why one should beware of images in uninvited e-mails.

I propose, now, that we send in the army and the nukes to this land of Glee if that’s where the evil spammers hang out, and sort them out for once and for all! Yeah! All should write to their M.P.s, Congresspeople, Senators, without delay. :slight_smile:

Seriously, I *am *glad to be reminded of just WHY one should not click, even on images, from spam mails. I obviously do not click on the kind that say “please verify your bank account number and password” or whatever, but I plead guilty to being less computer-savvy than most on the Dope, so it is good to know just why not to click on anything. I mean, I suppose I have read an explanation before, which is why my default is “no images to open unless I say so” but it is good to re-learn why not.

(And I have now decided that the evil spammers live in the Land of the Depraved and the Home of the Glee". :slight_smile: Bummer, really, because “glee” is such a lovely word.)

No, THIS is Spam**
**WARNING, contains Spam™, not reccomended for internal consumption…

A lot of spammers pretend to be real people by using realistic email addresses and names. Not all of them go the IHASZFRE3EVIAGR11AA route. Here are the names and emails of a few spammers I’ve dispatched recently:


Granted, they don’t sound MUCH like real names, but it’s closer than the random strings of letters that stand out to everybody as spam, and using patterns like this I can see where they’d hit some real names eventually. Some have also tried real names as users names here - in the last week or so, I’ve banned a Marta, Yoko, Thomas Parker, and a John Williams.

Spam smart. TM smarter. :wink:

Mostly true, Sunspace, except that it’s not called an HTML BUG. It’s called a “beacon”.
Sadly, in addition to “beacons”, there are many other kinds of traps that an HTML email can also convey: viruses, malware, and fake link to phishing sites are common.

Sweden is the current #1 source of spam, with the USA being #2. There are also significant operations in Korea, England, and …oh, every country, really.

The biggest problem is the “botnets”: international networks of PCs that have been infected with spammers’ software and, unknown to the PCs’ owners, send out spam as directed by the creators & managers of those botnets.

Correction: I think perhaps the biggest problem is @#($*&#( legislators in the USA. Recently, they decided that to sue a spammer, you have to be an Internet Provider Company (like America Online), not a private citizen or normal email-using company.

Think how STUPID this decision is! If, for example, a man runs over my foot causing me to miss work, I can sue him for damages, lost worktime, etc. However, if some @#($*& spammer makes me invest in anti-spam filters, wastes my time opening and deleting spam, takes my money by defrauding me with claims of herbal viagra, or infects my PC…well, then that’s not something I can sue for?!?

Spam accounts for more than 50% of Internet traffic. A spammer typically sends out 12.5 million emails to produce one positive result (fact, not guesstimation). It’s a significant drain on personal time, work time, and company resources. It’s inexcusable that US legislators won’t let us sue to recover lost wages & shut down spammers.

Commonly, spammers use a woman’s first name + a somewhat randomized “last name”, plus a false subject line that implies some generic urgency to read & respond, like “she said you said you love her…” or “meetign time changed. read & reply.”

Basically, the spammers are playing the “statistical averages” game to get the maximum # of people to open the emails.

Okay, I’ve spent the last five minutes hunting down and killing all the zombies you’ve resurrected, sethndss – but now you’re resurrecting a thread I started, and that makes it personal.

Cut it out. This is an official warning from a moderator of these boards.