Spammer Says: We Know Who You Are, We Know Where You Live


When you receive dozens of spams a day, not much shocks you anymore. Yesterday's inbox, however, provided a surprising new low. Here is an excerpt:

    Click Here:

    Mark Harper
    Mortgage Consultant

    Your Information:
    chip rosenthal  -  austin, tx  -  ph= 512-442-XXXX

Notice the bit of personal information tagged onto the end. This invasion of privacy is a remarkable new spam low.

I wondered, "How the hell did the spammer get this information?" I do have my mailing address and phone number on my resume, but there my name is listed as "Leonard." So, I don't think it came from there.

There is a sleazy marketing practice called e-pending, where companies try to correlate your email address with personal information without your permission. I'd be surprised, however, to see chickenboner spammers spending the money on these services. So, I remain perplexed as to how he got it.

Then I wondered, "Why the hell did the spammer do this?" Is he trying to intimidate me? We know who you are! We know where you live! Maybe he thought by presenting this piece of personal information, I'd believe he had some right to spam me. Instead, I am creeped out and offended, which I suspect is not what the spammer wanted.

This incident brings together the worst of two worlds: spam and data (non-)privacy. It's a pity our Federal legislators are too busy attending Enron and Global Crossing fundraisers to do anything about these problems. Over on the other side of the globe, the Europeans have instituted strong personal protections. As somebody on a mailing list noted, "With the EU data-protection laws, the spammer would be looking at a jail term."

Dec 29 update: I have posted an update to this entry.


Comments have been closed for this entry.

re: Spammer Says: We Know Who You Are, We Know Where You Live

I received the same, or a very similar spam, about two months ago. Unfortunately, the name and address they used were of a completely different J Rynd living in the Midwest (I'm in the East). I mentioned it on antispam discussion groups and got no response.

re: Spammer Says: We Know Who You Are, We Know Where You Live

No response was needed. Rule #1: spammers lie. Rule #2: spammers are stooopid. Rule #3: if you ever think a spammer might be telling the truth, or not a moron, remember Rules #1 and #2. Your post was an illustration of Rule #2. No comment was required.

re: Spammer Says: We Know Who You Are, We Know Where You Live

Unfortunately, the Euro antispam laws dont give us THAT much protection in the UK, as nearly al the stuff I get is from outside - I've had some success in doing some agressive searching, and targetting parent companies and the like

(Incl a realy polite message from their MD - and no more spam from THAT domain - Having got my target, I kept it fairly polite .. The other company who I asked if they really wanted 'the kind of PR enjoyed by child molesters' never got back to me !

Gas Electronics
London N5
PS I just remembered something about us not fully signing up to the EU laws yet, as the dork representing us thought it would be 'bad for small businesses' Graaah !