Who’s feeding the spammers with information?

Spam. We all get it, but for a long time I’ve been nursing a wee suspicion that it’s a bit too well targeted. Over the years I’ve seen a number of odd “coincidences” – spam from people with names very similar to friends of mine, subject lines extremely similar to various subjects I have interests in that are very unlikely to have been selected at random.

But in the last few days I’ve noticed something else and recalled a couple of other earlier similar spams. A couple of days ago I sent a package via an international carrier and within a day I received a message purporting to be from that company trying to tell me that delivery had failed but as usual containing a disguised file that will undoubtedly have been a virus of some sort. I remembered that once before I had sent a another package via another carrier and had later received messages disguised as being from them. Yesterday I paid my phone and broadband bill and today I received a spoof message apparently from the company with a link to a fake login to fix the “failed payment”. Fortunately I’m both experienced and wary, but it would have been so very simple for someone to have clicked on something very similar to a message they were expecting.

Now I don’t believe much in coincidence, and this is all getting to be far too much not to have some sort of causative basis behind it. I increasingly suspect that somehow the spammers are being fed with or are intercepting, more detailed information on all our communications than should be possible. And that, if true is a very worrying development.I may have to dig out my old copy of PGP, but sadly not that many people use it.

Anyone else seeing this sort of pattern in their spam?  Come and join me on the grassy knoll, conspiracy theories rule 😉

Be careful out there, and don’t forget your tinfoil hats.


Who’s feeding the spammers with information? — 2 Comments

  1. sorry, just too paranoid: many households have a Windoze computer and of course have problems so the chances are that a VOIP cold call will find a soft target quite quickly. Spammers use list compiled (sold to them) from many sources but I very seriously doubt monitoring phone calls. Think about it, how much would it cost to mount such a level of surveillance and more to the point, how many people would you need?

    You may have received messages from carriers you’ve recently used but millions of e-mails were received by people who never used a carrier?

    As for PGP, which is no longer available except a sanitised product approved by DoD for sale by Symantec. I suspect that any use of proper encryption would raise a flag at NSA or GCHQ marking you as a ‘person of interest’

  2. Thanks for your comment David. You could be right and it may all be coincidence due to sheer volume, but when I see spam emails with names that are both unusual and very similar to people I know, or purporting to be from companies I’ve just done business with when I’ve never had such spams before and rarely since, then I smell a rat.
    I’m not suggesting a large scale monitoring of phone calls but what about telecom workers being bribed to supply information, just as credit card workers have been in the past.

    Sad to hear about PGP. It’s a reflection of how far down the road of reduced privacy we’ve come in recent years that the desire for privacy is equated to the suspicion of terrorism. I’m afraid that the politicians have repeatedly fallen into the trap the terrorists laid – if you change your society in response to their actions then they’ve succeeded in spreading fear and undermined the freedoms that we stood for.