Angel Investor | VC | Phishing

 
Gmail

I use Gmail for email, and it catches most spam.
I do however monitor my spam folder carefully because a few useful emails such as my contact form results and Spam Karma Reports sometimes end up there.

This email passed through the Gmail filters today, and I thought it was important enough to mention it.

Dear Partner,

I am facilitating for a private investor who want to invest her financial estate in long-term business venture in your country/company under your supervision.
You will be required to;

1. Receive.
2. Invest and Manage the funds in a profitable venture.
The amount to be invested is over Sixty Million US Dollars. My client is willing to give 10% [Negotiable] as participation fee as the receiver and extra 10% “Management Commission” on your advised investment project.

We expect to hear from you urgently and kindly send the following info to enhance communication;

1. Full Names and Address
2. Tel, Fax and Cell phone numbers
I look forward to your swift response.

What I find remarkable about this spam message, which is actually quite remarkable is

  1. I do visit and comment on VC blogs as people launching startups tend to do
  2. Blog software can be hacked, and emails grabbed. Lots of the VC blogs are high profile so this is a huge possibility, similar to the problems various SEO specialists had recently.
  3. The language used is actually quite professional compared to most spam I receive. It is not perfect by any means, but then I suppose I am not qualified enough to judge.

Related? Maybe a 2007 Trend

Social Networks such as MyBlogLog allow a great deal of profiling to be done, not only for the companies that run them, but also for people creating custom tools and scrapers.

  • First of all your name and email can be picked up easily
  • Email Address

    Note there are loads of sites out in the ether that list email addresses that are easy to pickup.
    I am a member of multiple VC communities on MyBlogLog, and whilst I don’t have my LinkedIn profile listed there yet, I will have in the future.
    A clever programmer could easily create a targetted spam email list based on those reading habbits.

  • Also scrape all the linked in profiles
  • Create a legitimate looking blog in the niche
  • Invite MyBlogLog contacts to encourage people to visit your blog
  • Invite to LinkedIn

Users of MyBlogLog are likely to trust you more for that LinkedIn request, especially if you wrote good content.

Security Questions

Lots of services require you to enter details to recover a lost password. The more profiles we build on the web, whilst it makes it easier for people to find us, it may also give clues for access to services such as email that wouldn’t normally be possible.

Targeted Spamming?

Up until recently, most spam has been untargeted.

2007 might be the year we start seeing niche spamming, such as VC spam, gadget spam & tech spam.

Update: I sometimes think Michael Jenson is reading my mind, or on a very similar wavelength. I write a post about how the data from MyBlogLog can be used for nefarious purposes, and he suggests that it could easily be collected in all types of ways, and used for targeted adverts among other things.

What is the silimarity?

In both cases you are profiling your visitors to a specific niche. The only difference is how you use that data to make more sales, either semi-legitimately, or in more obnoxious ways.

As Michael also suggests, and he is much more technical than I am, it would be quite possible to create the tools to do this.

I have thought of other ways to use the network, that I don’t dare program or make available, such as tracking how often specific users come back to your blog, or how often they frequent other related blogs. Now combine this with a public profile, though hopefully most people share very little, and you’ve got yourself quite a number of marketing characteristics.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Andy, I’ve been flabbergasted that some emails friends send do not arrive in my email box, but spams do. Wish some of these folks would get a life, don’t you? You’ve really helped me see more about the tech side of blogging that I’m still learning.

    The learning curve is high ever day!

    Love those little snowflakes falling on the screen.

  2. says

    Andy, another nice post. I frequent a lot of investing sites and seem to get a lot of “stock” announcements and such, worthless penny stocks mostly. I think I probably signed up for some lame newsletter or something though. I agree with you that technically I think spam is going to get smarter and more “personalized”. If you post in a forum and leave a link to your site, what keeps a spammer (interested in you because you frequent that forum) from following the links in your sig and finding your contact page (pretty easy to code, though it takes more resources) and spamming you that way. Why not just take a clip of your post and say, “hey I saw your post…” and then throw in some natural language spam.

    Pretty interesting…

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