The United Kingdom is the most popular destination for 419 scams - emails which promise huge riches in exchange for up-front arrangement fees. A worldwide survey of spam found 23 per cent of all Nigerian 419 scams were sent to British surfers. The UK also scored highly for adult spam - coming second, just behind the US. The …
you could say
That 419 scammers are targeting the big rich, western decadent societies that have people with lots of disposable income, relatively speaking..
Or you could say that we are an easy target with an uneducated populace that fall for these things. (my favourite)
Or you could say the people falling for these tend to be old because our health systems are so good we have an older class to be targeted.
Or you could say that English is the most common business language so target that first and then spread out wards, you are more likely to get a response.
Or you could say that our economy strength puts us in the more likely to give "a larger return" category.
Or you could say that our limp wristed and victorian infrastructure (BT, Ofcom, the 21CN) and "bygone era" ideology has meant we are chasing the world in sorting out the 419 scammers and spam in general.
Like the poor guy on Mars
Like the poor guy who went to mars with the rovers and is now dying of a ruptured Uterus?
Still, there are those mugs who can't resist this type of emails :-(
Why not chase the fraudsters?
Perhaps I'm naive but it seems to me the problem isn't "spam" per se (unsolicited bulk email) but FRAUD. Sending (or causing to be sent) emails with forged headers or using other people's computers which have been taken over and included in botnets constitutes fraud and unauthorised access to a computer system, both of which are serious criminal offences in pretty much every country in the world.
If the FBI and other police forces around the world were to cooperate and actively pursue one or two offenders using the resources they clearly have available (eg. when pursuing terrorists or child pornographers) and prosecute them accordingly then they could surely make a huge dent in the problem.
Clearly, I'm not suggesting they should investigate every single spam email, just enough to catch some of the major culprits and make an example of them to act as a deterrent.
What's the problem here?
I started getting loads of spam, so I went to a registrar and bought two very cheap domain names, nothing fancy, 5 quid/year jobbies. I then set up a handful of email addresses with silly complicated prefixes, I then alias my emails through some free domains. I now use different emails for different things, important stuff has one, finanical has another, rubbish for another, online news updates another, and so on.
My spam has dropped from about 50 a day to about 2-3 a day. If I start getting spammed on one email and shouldn't, I bin it and put up a new one. Alright so there is some maintenance to be done every so often, but day-to-day life is lot easier.
@AC re. What's The Problem
Yahoo provides disposable e-mail names, within one main account, that you can create and delete as you wish. These are delivered to the Inbox of the main account. You can also send an e-mail from the disposable name. There are limits on the 'structure' of the name but it sounds simpler and cheaper than your solution.
I employ a similar tactic:
a) my account at bluebottle is used when I MUST enter an email address to post replies/sign up for newsletters/receive verification emails/enter competitions.
b) my gmail account is for friends I have met face-to-face and for the occasional correspondence with people I know are real.
c) my work email is known to only the twenty-odd people in our company.
@Frank and AC
Even cheaper solution. It's called a delete key.
Ahh, but it is not just Nigeria. Benin, Malaysia and Iraq are rapidly catching up in terms of 419 scams naming their countries. A few friends and I are running a lottery on who can get the largest 419 scam email sent to them - the current winner is 123 million dollars, and the winner gets to buy the first round of beers...
Paris, because she actually has 123 million dollars...
While the UK is number 1, with the number of these things I'm getting, I must be number 2. I've been able to, so far, resist the urge to do a bit of baiting, but I'm not sure I can resist much longer (especially after that Mars scam).
P.S. Mine's the one with 125 million dollars that I just received from a guy who's dieing on Venus in the pockets.
to Anon. Cow.
you still get 2 to 3 spam e-mails a day ?
I've had my hotmail account for over a decade and I receive at best a spam e-mail every few days.
I get a few pieces of junk from specific newsletters I have previously signed up to, but hardly any real spam. Perhaps you shouldn't hand out your e-mail adresses quite so readily ?
OK, but what do you do when your idiot friends forwards on that sad story about the poor kid who has leukaemia and only 1 arm but if you forward it to 218 people the poor kid will be saved by Microsoft, without trimming all the headers out - and so your so-called private personal address is seen by an exponentially rising number of people, or far worse, screen-scrapers?
Perhaps you could help us track down...
My opening gambit in reply to a 419 (in less-than-perfect English) is to indicate that we are already in the middle of such a deal, pleading with the perpetrator to assist in tracking down the supposed perpetrator to complete the transfer for which the account is still waiting.
In view of great sorrow we have with <insert name of imaginary Nigerian> the Financial-director has instructed me that we do not transaction in Africa again, except the following Condition. No fee to be pay out before receive of check of large Dolar. All such for tax, courier, insurance or Other, to be seduced out of large Dolar amount, you to send check of remains. Alternately we pay recompence out of clear funds of check. Thank you for your patient and corporation.
I don't really see it as a problem
I use gmail mostly and one or two ONLY get into my main inbox per day, the rest go straight into a junk mail folder which I delete with two clicks (after browsing through to see any interesting ones). I do quite like sites like 419eater and might take up 419 baiting a bit more seriously until I become a Master Baiter. My mate has just had his Hotmail account taken over by a guy though who is claiming to be him and having lost his 'little bag with his passport and cards and money in' in a taxi in Lagos. The thing is we all thought it was him taking the piss but I sent him a piss take reply and got this back yesterday.
I am the one one that send the message to you,so try all your best to get the money sent as soon as you get my email. please send the money through Western Union Money Transfer.
Below is the info. you are to send the money to :
Receiver's Name : Segun Folarin
Address:limited Hotel & suites
City : Ikeja
State : Lagos
Country : Nigeria
Text question:What is the money for
Help me send the money as soon as you get my mail.i promise to pay you back when i come back
Email me back with Western union information used in sending the money
Text question:What is the money for
surely a bigger focus should go on educating people in order to stop them going to sites and dumping their details into them as well as stopping companies making a killing by selling on your details.
I really shake my head at the BBC article where they say that "surfing the net unprotected can dramatically increase the amount of spam you get" since without key loggers or dodgy scripts being installed I fail to see how simply browsing (no data entry on sites) can magically grasp your email details.
And of course a study by a company that happens to sell a "solution" won't ever fail to come to the conclusion that browsing our great unwashed web will lead you to ruin unless you purchase their snake oil... I mean "protection software".
A little bit of education, a robust browser and a freebie addon such as noscript will easily stop most malware infections and reduce your self propagated spam exposure without installing system performance destroying application such as mcafee's that actually does more to harm your daily computing experience than most items it claims to protect against.
But then, that wouldn't make mcafee any money now, would it?
No comment yet of the obvious
14 comments so far, and none asking the question we should all be asking (maybe because it's obvious?) --
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!?
"The research asked 50 people from ten countries to surf the web unprotected and see what spam they picked up"
C'mon El Reg!
This is marketing fluff disguised as "research". "Unprotected" web browsing (I assume that's what they mean by "surfing") does not of itself lead to your inbox filling up with spam.
What the hell did they do?
What is surfiing unprotected? Why should it lead to spam? AFAIK your email address is not sent from your browser to any page asking for it.
What browser(s) did they use? Mosaic 1.0, IE 3.0, Firefox 3.0?
The BBC has lousy churnalism on this as well, but I expected El Reg to do better. The story as it stands makes no sense.
Sponsored by a firm that could not detect a trojan (in our CREDIT CARD PROCESSING UNIT!), even though a competitor could, got us to do all the analysis for them, site in China was down anyway and then took 4 days to get us an incomplete dat file.
That's what I call unprotected surfing !