Junk Mail & Spam - Who Gains?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by choreo, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. choreo macrumors regular

    choreo

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Midland, TX
    #1
    Even with my GoDaddy Spam Assassin set to Max and removing myself as a Catch-All account, I still get over 100 Junk/Spam emails per day! Getting pretty old.

    Two questions:

    1. What do people "gain" by sending these? I will get sometimes 3-5 identical emails back to back with the same subject lines but from different addresses? Many of them just say "Hi" in the message (looking for no response I assume). A lot of people are going to a lot of trouble to send this junk out every day knowing they will get no response - not even including any "bait" to entice a response. So what is their angle? It must be lucrative to compose all this junk every day, but how are they making money doing this? I have received thousands of these the past few months (getting worse) and never responded to any of them - so what do they gain. I am not talking about the idiots that send you a Heath Care Insurance notice and if you reply it sends you to a site selling horseshoes (another mystery in itself). I am saying I get over 100 emails a day where they have to know that nobody will respond as there is no message - just basically some random Subject Line?

    2. How to I get rid of them? Black listing them is a waste of time because I never get two from the same sender?
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    Wow, 100 a day, that's really high. I get no where near that many.

    Perhaps you should look for a different provider. I get only a handful, sometimes none, and I use iCloud.
     
  3. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #3
    They stand to make money, that's why it happens. I read a statistic once that reported more than 96% of all email sent worldwide was spam.

    The relative low-cost to send out mass email vs. The return they get from people who either don't know better or actually, willingly buy stuff through spam is more than enough for these people to continue sending spam out.

    I use my old .mac.com account (iCloud) and I rarely get any spam at all. You might consider changing your email provider.
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    Dang.... 100 a day. :eek:

    I would just abandon that email address and get a new account. If you can't do that, try Spam Seive. It uses Bayesian filtering to match patterns based on your training of the filter and should help you ID spam after some training.
     
  5. choreo thread starter macrumors regular

    choreo

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    Jan 10, 2008
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    Midland, TX
    #5
    Can't very easily change my email as it had my domain name and is printed on all my advertising materials.

    I will give Spam Sieve a try!
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #6
    Make sure you take the time to mark good messages as good also and not just mark spam. That really helps the filter learn what to do. It does take a few days to get accurate.

    I set my son-in-law up with a similar system in Outlook and it worked surprisingly well. We got him down to only a couple mails a week slipping through the filter. He was like you with an email address he really could not change.

    Let us know how it works for you.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #7
    I'd look for a better email provider then. I don't think godaddy is really doing too well for you it seems
     
  8. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #8
    Before maybe 6-8 months ago, I would get 4 or 5 or fewer spam emails a day (and I have about a half-dozen accounts).

    Then something happened. I think some of those idiots who send out legitimate mass emails (think affinity groups of some kind) but forget to use BCC got hacked and spammers harvested the contents of their address books. It didn't help that Home Depot had one of my email addresses, as did Adobe and some others who were compromised.

    Suddenly I was getting 100 or more a day. MacMail's filters couldn't handle it. My hosting company's filters were pretty good, but made me look for possible good messages in each of my email accounts.

    Finally I paid for Spam Sieve and shut off filtering at the host level. It's working well for me, but just this morning I had 150 spam emails.

    I'm posting because I'm wondering if anybody else had a similar experience -- so little spam for so long (years!) and then the deluge.
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    This isn't unusual. When you first get an email account, you're not "on the radar" for spammers. You may be able to get by with little or no spam for a long time. When you get spam, it's very important that you NEVER reply to it or click "Unsubscribe" or any other link in the spam message. Spammers will blast hundreds or thousands of email accounts, not knowing if they are valid or in use. When you respond in any way, you've just let the spammer know that your address is valid and someone is checking that account. The spammer will then flag your address as valid and sell it to other spammers. They pass it to more, and the cycle continues. That's why once you start getting spam, there's no way to reverse the process, and it can only get worse with time. It may take months before a trickle of spam turns into a flood, or it can happen over a few days.
     
  10. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Brobdingnag
    #10
    Adding to this, it's also important to never display remote images in HTML messages. These are often unique URLs, which show up in the spammer's server log when the image is retrieved. This tells the spammer that the targeted account is active and someone is reading the message.

    In OS 10.8, the setting is in the Preferences window, Viewing pane, "Display remote images in HTML messages" checkbox. Uncheck it. To then see HTML images in messages, you can load them on a per-message basis after the checkbox is unchecked.


    This may explain how an otherwise empty message like "Hi" is useful to spammers. If it's HTML and contains a URL to an embedded image, even a single-pixel one, with a unique URL, then simply opening the message will fetch the image, informing the spammer's server that the mail account is active. Active accounts are worth more when reselling to other spammers.
     
  11. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #11
    Yeah, I know all this (GGJ and chown33) and have known it for a long time. I've been careful. I'm not new to email (going on 20 years).

    And the email accounts that are being newly hammered have been active for 5-7 years.

    Beyond the possible causes I listed, I also think it's likely that all those Yahoo and AOL email addresses that were compromised had something to do with it. Like it or not (and I don't) I have tons of email partners who use those services.

    Bottom line, though, I wasn't asking for advice. I was wondering whether anybody else has had a very long period of quiet, and then a deluge.

    If you want to direct those suggestions to the general readers, that's great. You should. But I don't see why you need to quote me in this matter.

    It's not, as they say, my first rodeo.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    I have not really noticed any difference compared to a few years ago. I wonder if your address got scooped up in one of the many site breaches we read about?
     
  13. choreo thread starter macrumors regular

    choreo

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    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Midland, TX
    #13
    I am still at a loss as to how these people benefit from this (other than just chaos). I sort of get the ones that are selling a product or service and that they just don't maybe understand marketing. But even since I installed Spam Sieve yesterday, I have received 141 messages that pretty much just have Subject lines - there is no product or service and most don't even have links?

    The only thing I can figure is that maybe some of these Email Broadcasting companies (like the ones that sell to my techo-ignorant clients) sell these broadcast packages promising people that they will get so many "opens" on their email campaigns and most clients that pay them are too dumb to know that these are the type "leads" they are getting in their stat-reports.

    I have one of my clients who sells a Security Product and hired an Email Campaign "Expert" last month to do a marketing campaign for him. He paid her $1,000. He called me up excited and said he just got his first report back and it said that over 10,000 people had opened his emails (apparently 9,999 came to me in my Spam folder!). I asking him how many of those opened emails jumped to his website and he said over 1,000. I then asked him how many sales he made - he said "none" yet. I built his website and he sells hundreds of these devices a month just off random Google Searches which cost him nothing.

    So my guess is a lot of these may just be a way for some of these Email Marketing companies to get their Stats up?
     
  14. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Brobdingnag
    #14
    You may be right, but how would their clients know the stats, independently of what the marketing company tells the client?

    As to the client of yours who was excited about his email campaign, how does the email marketing company know that a recipient has opened the email?

    As you probably know, there's an email header that requests a return receipt, but this can be neutered by the recipient. Are there really that many email users who happily let every return receipt go out? If so, then maybe that's the answer to your question: return receipts tell the spammer the account is active, and the recipient probably isn't an informed email user.

    This is speculation, of course, but I don't think you're going to get more than that unless you post the complete text (headers and body) of one of these myriad spam emails you're getting. If there's no return-receipt header and no HTML web bug images, then the value to spammers would remain a mystery. But if either of those is present, it seems to answer your first question.
     
  15. choreo thread starter macrumors regular

    choreo

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    Midland, TX
    #15
    Exactly the point I have tried to emphasize with my clients... who really knows?

    I know that some of my biggest clients (i.e. well know Cruise Lines, etc.) have all signed up with Email Broadcast services that give them reports of every email campaign which shows how many were sent, how many were "opened", how many were tagged by the recipient as "spam" and how many resulted in a "click-through" (some even indicate which hyperlink they clicked). For all I know it as all BS, but all my large Corporate Clients swear by those stats.

    I have done some HTML Email Broadcast files for some people in the past which sometimes did not contain enough HTML text (too graphic heavy) and the reports came back saying that they were "not opened and flagged as spam" by recipients. Then when I would increase the amount of text to image ratio they would get through the blockers? Or so they said.
     
  16. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Brobdingnag
    #16
    Maybe the email marketers are reporting anything that doesn't load embedded HTML images as unopened and/or flagged as spam. Click-throughs seems easily measurable, especially if the embedded URLs are unique in some way.

    In the absence of a return-receipt header or some kind of web-bug image that's actually loaded, I know of no way to tell what a recipient does with the message (opened vs. deleted unopened). And unless some of the large email services like Yahoo or Gmail are somehow sending (or leaking) feedback to the sender of how unread messages are disposed of, I see no way at all how "tagged as spam" could be identified.
     
  17. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    Sep 8, 2010
    Location:
    Detroit
    #17
    Do you know if there is anything like this available for Windows and MS Outlook users?
     
  18. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #18
    http://spambayes.sourceforge.net

    SpamBayes is what I setup on my son-in-laws Windows Outlook machine I mentioned earlier. From the website, it does not look like it has been updated in a while. If you are not on the latest MS versions, it looks like it would still work.

    All these Bayesian filter apps seem to based on the statistical work by Paul Graham. Graham links to some Outlook Bayesian filters here, but I only ever used SpamBayes. No idea about the others.
     
  19. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    Location:
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    #19
    Thanks. I'll give it a look. I have some friends on Windows who are having loads of spam filter in.
     

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