Wednesday, October 05, 2016

The wonderful mind of the spammer

I know I've sounded off about email spammers before (for example in this little rant from 2005) but they seem to be increasing in number and I now receive about half a dozen a day. I don't really know why they bother because my ISP flags them up as spam anyway and then my email client puts them straight into the Deleted folder.

Even if these emails did make it into my Inbox, they would face one insuperable hurdle. The first thing I look at is the sender. And these emails have one fascinating trait that instantly marks them out - they all have incredibly silly sender names. Here are the examples from today's crop - see if you can spot what they all have in common.
  • gabrielacuppaidge088@gmail.com 
  • francismciveen479@gmail.com 
  • Washington.86@mediamagician.co.za 
  •  Jacquelyn82130@gmail.com 
  •  French.496@enitel.net.ni
  • deloriscolquitt6864@gmail.com 
  • coraswafford5959@gmail.com

Got it? They each contain a number as part of the "sender's" name (obviously we all know these names are generated by computer). Presumably the authors of the software that produces them thought that the digits make the names look more authentic. I think they make the names look utterly ludicrous. I mean, are we supposed to think that there are 500 people with the surname French (none of whom use a first name) based at enitel (whoever they may be)? And over 80,000 people rejoicing in the identity of Jacquelyn (no surname, you will have noticed) using gmail? And as for Francis Civeen (no, sorry, Francis M Civeen if you please), do they really think we will accept that he shares his unusual name with some 480 others?

We must be presumed to make such assumptions since there is absolutely no reason to have a number as part of an email address except to distinguish oneself from someone with an identical name at the same domain. So yes, I would accept JohnSmith05@gmail as perhaps legitimate. Perhaps even JohnSmith5000. But dear old Johnny doesn't write to me. Instead it's Ms Cuppaidge (one of a hundred or so) and poor old Washington down in South Africa. And it was good to hear from darling Deloris again.

So come on spammers, this a game you are losing badly. Try a bit harder. I can always use these names as characters in some of the dramatic entertainments I pen from time to time so your creative efforts may not entirely be wasted.

Update written a day later
Someone out there must have read the piece above. Today another seven or eight emails trapped by my ISP and most of the "senders" did not have numbers after their names. Strange, eh?  

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