scary aol spam ... please advise

A long long time ago in a galaxy far far away, my grandmother wanted email.

My husband (Ramit) and I weighed the costs and benefits of various inexpensive machines and devices and remote support costs of a home-brew machine and ended up buying her (on his credit card) an e-machine from some mail-order catalog place that was cheap because we agreed to subscribe to Compuserve for a term of like three years.

Eventually we decided to consolidate a few things here and there financially, and make it easier for her to get pictures in email, we swapped her over to my old AOL account.

She was immediately inundated with SPAM but she just deletes those (and AOLs overeager filters delete a lot before she gets it).

Yesterday, she was over for dinner and said “oh, I got an email from you, Ramit, but it was too small and I couldn’t read it.” So we fired up my laptop, logged in, and there was an email that was your basic “refinance your house” email.

The problems, are, though:

  1. They had his correct name.

  2. The title of the email was our home address (the same adress that the machine was bought from, but not the same name and adress who currently pays the AOL bill on that account).

How did they get his name and address and associate it with that random email account?

Searching from on-line forums where your e-mail was entered into a form with your adress somewhere. Programs search for this information and send out millions of e-mails, hoping that if you see familiar info, you’ll trust it.

I get these by the dozens daily.

nope. She wouldn’t know a message board if it kicked her in the nose.

She only opens and closes email. She sends email. SHe views pictures we send her.

I got a spam earlier this week that had my full name and city of residence in the title.

I thought “impressive!” as I deleted it.

OK, it’s spam, but why is it scary?

They have that name

They live at that address

I don’t see how it’s any scarier than postal junk mail

And also, titling it ‘aol spam’ tarnishes aol unnecessarily

You got that backwards, GorillaMan; calling it “aol spam” tarnishes spam unnecessarily.

Since it has your husband’s name and address, I’d assume that you or your hubbie entered the info in some form back when you had the AOL account…

Grandmother, different last name, lives in a condo in eastern Florida.

We live in a house in a different part of Florida.

He bought the e-machine and compuserve account years ago in his name on his card, delivered to our house.

We cancelled compuserve.

I added her as a user to my AOL account, billed a credit card going to our house - it never had his name on it. His name is the only name on the mortgage, but not on the title. I never changed my billing address with aol to this house … in theory it all still has my parents address on it (where I originally lived when I started the account)

I’m trying to figure out how they connected A_rand0m_granny_00@aol.com to my husband’s name and home address.

Did she ever fill out a from OFF LINE, and enter an e-mail adress on the form? So many apps ask for this info you forget you entered it **off line ** somewhere.

Surely she filled out some warranty card, application, even a form for a store cash savings card. The possibilities are endless just off line.

even if she filled something out, it would have been with her name, address, etc. Not ours.

I got one of those yesterday. My full name, my old address. It wanted to know if I would like to refinance my house – and the address was for my apartment. :rolleyes:

I used the “report as spam” option on my webmail server. (I don’t allow suspected e-mail to download into my Inbox.)

Hey, RandomLetters, insulting AOL with ridiculous over the top slams is so '90s.

Tarnishing spam. Snort.

Hey, now I know probably why they connected that email address and that physical name and address:

According to the complaint, Smathers used another employee’s ID in April and May 2003 to assemble a complete list of AOL’s customer account screen names, zip codes, telephone numbers and credit card types.](http://money.cnn.com/2004/06/23/technology/aol_spam/?cnn=yes)

Going by phone number and zip code and name, it would be easy to tie my husband to an_emailing_granny_00@aol.com.