Spam was nearly dead, then it became an essential tool for crime and came roaring back


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/24/crime-economics.html


#2

dont-like-spam


#NeedsMoreLikes (formerly known as "All the Likes")
#3

It is surprising that we seem to lack the ability to stop robocallers. I generally waste their time offering to split the spoils of a lawsuit against the robocalling company if the caller will reveal the identity. It has led to some amusing conversations.


#4

#5

Now in delicious pork flavor!!!


#6

I thought the story was about using SPAM cans as a drug currency like bottles of Tide or whatever.


#7

As if a can of SPAM isn’t already a crime against good taste, I too was curious about what nefarious new use had been developed for ‘meat in a can’.


#8

Yeah, based on the headline/photo, that’s what I thought, too. I was trying to figure out how it was “an essential tool,” though.


#9

Why doesn’t this have more likes? It’s the perfect first comment on this story!


#10

There actually is a problem of spam-theft in Hawaii (where people actually like it)

https://www.npr.org/2017/10/22/559403062/hawaiis-spate-of-spam-heists


#11

Without Spam, I’d never get any emails.


#12


#13

I had almost completely missed the robocall increase because I set my default ringtone to “silent” and only ever see calls from people on my contact list. Recently, I had to change that setting while waiting for a call from a company rep who’s number I didn’t know in advance. I was surprised at the number of calls I was getting. I thought it was just me, then I started to see these stories. Back to the silent ringtone and blissful ignorance. Anyone with something useful to say can leave a message.


#14

I like to take time out of my day and waste the robocaller’s time. I consider it a huge win if I get a human operator to swear at me.

It’s easiest with the credit card scammers who usually are in India.


#15

I still get email from my dead great aunt.

Hmmm - maybe there is something to this new weight loss secret.


#16

[thick Indian accent] “Hello, I am with Microsoft Security. We have detected that your computer is infected with a virus and we can help you clean it.”
image


#17

The first time I got that call it was from “the Microsoft Windows Operating System.” I was going to string them along but I just started laughing and I kept laughing until they hung up.


#18

I was amazed reading the first paragraph that so much action had been taken that could threaten SPAM and I never realized. Then I realized they were talking about online SPAM.

And yeah, I too am disappointed I don’t get to find out how it became an essential tool for crime. =o(


#19

Part of it is that *69 and Caller ID are broken/easily spoofed. The annoying recent trend I notice is that the robocaller always appears to be “local”; the area code and first 3 digits of the phone number mirror my own.

Wouldn’t making these features more robust crush the robocallers? They can only thrive because they operate in anonymity.


#20

I like to play with them, especially when they call in my (elderly) father’s name.

“Wow, that’s amazing. Since his computer has dial-up and you’re on the phone with me now… did I mention that the computer’s turned off right now?”

The ridiculous thing was, the guy on the line kept it up. So I called him out on being a scammer, with a few choice words included, and he hung up. :smiling_imp: