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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » So I got this unnerving SPAM today...

   
Author Topic: So I got this unnerving SPAM today...
vonk
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...and I'm not sure what I should do with it. I want to send it to the cops, but what are they gonna do? I guess the only thing to do is delete it and move on, but seriously, this is going way to far for SPAM. I dunno, maybe I'm over reacting. Tell me what you think. Here's the letter:

quote:
A am very very sorry for you, is a pity that this is how your life is going to end is a pity but I will like to give you some chance to help your self if you will like to.
As you can see there is no need of introducing my self to you because I don't have any business with you, My work as I am talking to you now is just to kill you and I have to do it as I have already been paid for that.

Some one that I will not like to tell you the name now but a friend of yours, came to us and told me that he want you dead and he provided us with your name ,picture and other information about you. So I sent my boys to track you down and carry on some investigation on you and they have done that but I told them not to kill you that I will like to contact you and see if your life is Important to you or not since there findings shows that you are innocent. I called my client back and ask him of you email address which I didn't tell him what I want to do with it and he gave it to me and I am using it to contact you now. As I am writing to you now my men are monitoring you and there telling me every thing about you. So I will like to know if you will like to live or die as some one has paid for us to kill you. I am given you a grace of two days to get back to me if you are ready to pay $30,000 or I will carry on with my job.

WARNING: DO NOT CONTACT POLICE OR TELL ANY ONE, FOR I DO THAT I WILL
KNOW AND I WILL EXTEND IT TO YOUR FAMILY.
DO NOT COME OUT ONCE IT IS 7:PM UNTILL I MAKE OUT TIME TO SEE YOU AND
GIVE YOU THE VEDIO TAPE OF MY DISCOUSION WITH THE PERSON WHO WHANT YOU
DEAD THEN YOU CAN USE IT TO TAKE ANY LEGAL ACTION ON HIM.
GOOD LUCK AS I AWAIT YOUR REPLY.

So? Is this just too ridiculous to continue thinking about? Or am I right to think that this is way to far?

Edit: Oh, and I'm pretty much assuming it's complete BS. If you think I'm incorrect to assume that, it'd be good to know.

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Flaming Toad on a Stick
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Urggh. That's pretty ugly, not gonna lie.
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xnera
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Been Googling, and found at least one mention of a similar email. This site calls it a scam, and yeah, I would think so, too. I don't think going to the police would be a bad idea, though; I've gone to them before when I received an unexpected letter in the mail from someone in jail. You might also want to forward the email on to your ISP (see if they have a fraud or phising address) as they might be interested in looking into this.
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Alcon
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That's rather disturbing [Frown] What was the address it was sent by?

Also... yeah, I'd go to the police if I were you. I'd guess by the language of it that it's just some dumb ass computer gamer/web troll who thinks it's funny, but... better safe than sorry.

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BlackBlade
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Sounds like a more sinister version of a Nigerian email scam. Still I would contact the police, just to be safe, though in all likely hood this is the last you will hear from this person.
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Jon Boy
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Contacting the police may not help, but I don't see how it would hurt. After all, not only is spam illegal, but so are death threats and attempted blackmail.
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vonk
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Thanks guys! That's pretty much what I thought, but it's good to have confirmation.

It was mailed from "Mr No Name I am Sorry" whatever the heck that means.

xnera - how do you mail something to your ISP? Also, please don't kick me.

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Morbo
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Sounds like a more sinister version of a Nigerian email scam. Still I would contact the police, just to be safe, though in all likely hood this is the last you will hear from this person.

I agree with BlackBlade. It would be a waste of time to bother police with the standard Nigerian email BS, but this is far worse. I would give it to police because of the threats and extortion even though I think you are safe.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by vonk:
Thanks guys! That's pretty much what I thought, but it's good to have confirmation.

It was mailed from "Mr No Name I am Sorry" whatever the heck that means.

xnera - how do you mail something to your ISP? Also, please don't kick me.

By ISP she means your Internet Service Provider. If you get comcast, you should contact comcast at their website, www.comcast.com. Same goes for other providers, perhaps they can help you.
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DSH
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This isn't supposed to be a flippant remark (though it sounds that way! [Wink] ) but... Why would you open spam email in the first place?

I open about 2 a year, usually by accident (and I certainly don't take the time to read all the way through them). The rest get flushed w/out a second thought.

I highly recommend that strategy for dealing with spam.

my $.02

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Nighthawk
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quote:
Why would you open spam email in the first place?
You have to admit, some of the wacky subject lines they come up with make them beg to be opened, just for comedic sake.
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Tatiana
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I've been getting spam saying it's a response to my loan request. At first I thought someone had stolen my identity and requested a loan in my name, and was about to open it, then I decided nah it must just be spam and deleted it. I've gotten 5 or 6 like that. Has everyone else?

I do think I would go to the police with blackmail death threat email, though. Even though it's certainly just spam, you need to anyway.

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ElJay
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That's gross. I'm so sorry you got that. I agree that you should let your ISP and the police know about it.
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Goody Scrivener
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Tatiana, I get lots of those. And ones claiming to be from banks with "urgent customer messages" and things like that. (P.S., I haven't forgotten your cross stitch piece)

As for the current email, I agree that you should contact the police. Just to be absolutely sure. And absolutely contact your ISP.

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porcelain girl
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Absolutely alert the authorities. I do not believe your life is in order, but that is an incredibly sinister and shady way to go about getting money.

I just hate to think about some elderly person opening that up and being scared.

It's one thing to offer me a larger penis; it's something else entirely to threaten my life.

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steven
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"It's one thing to offer me a larger penis"

Larger than whose?

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ketchupqueen
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Well, as a woman, larger than anything I'VE got.
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Morbo
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Sounds like Spam envy to me.
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Shigosei
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I've heard about these death-threat scams before. Creepy and completely disgusting, yes. But you're about as likely to get killed as you are to get a million dollars from Nigeria. I wouldn't contact whoever-it-is, of course, and you probably should forward the e-mail just to alert the police and your ISP that this sort of scam is going on. Other people are almost certainly getting this e-mail too, and they should be warned.
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vonk
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quote:
Why would you open spam email in the first place?
This email passed the spam filter. Usually it would have ***SPAM*** in front of it. And it happened to be at the top of my inbox so it opened automatically.

I tried to report it yesterday but the system for reporting crimes over the phone was down at HPD, and I didn't think it warranted having an officer come out. I'm gonna try again after my first cup of coffee.

quote:
I just hate to think about some elderly person opening that up and being scared.
Me too. I was hesitant to assume it was spam at first, so I assume there are people that would take it seriously.
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Risuena
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From the FBI Cyber Investigations:
quote:
01/09/07—There is a new twist to the IC3 alert posted on December 7, 2006 regarding e-mails claiming that the sender has been paid to kill the recipient and will cancel the contract on the recipient's life if that person pays a large sum of money. Now e-mails are surfacing that claim to be from the FBI in London. These e-mails note the following information:

  • An individual was recently arrested for the murders of several United States and United Kingdom citizens in relation to this matter.
  • The recipient's information was found on the subject identifying the recipient as the next victim.
  • The recipient is requested to contact the FBI in London to assist with the investigation.
It is not uncommon for an Internet fraud scheme to have the same overall intent but be transmitted containing variations in the e-mail content, e.g., different names, e-mail addresses, and/or agencies reportedly involved. See our related top story on the hitman scam.

Please note, providing any personal information in response to an unsolicited e-mail can compromise your identity and open you to identity theft.

If you have experienced this situation please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

Due to the threat of violence inherent in these extortion e-mails, if you receive an e-mail that contains personally identifiable information that might differentiate your e-mail from the general e-mail spam campaign, we encourage you to contact the police.



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Dragon
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That is SO scary. Good luck vonk.
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Mucus
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On a related note, I'm suddenly getting tons of bounced/unknown receiver email messages from some spammer that is sending out spam but forged as being sent from my email address. Something like 300 in one day, weeha.
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aspectre
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""It's one thing to offer me a larger penis"
"Larger than whose?"
"Well, as a woman, larger than anything I'VE got."

Once again proof positive that babies are born in a cabbage patch then delivered by storks.

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ketchupqueen
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*beats aspecte about the head with a stick*

*smites with the Ketchup of Righteousness for good measure*

YOU push out an 8-lb. person, then joke about that. [Razz]

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Chipmunk
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vonk, I'm an anti-spam researcher, and would be very interested in seeing the original, with complete headers. I can easily analyze the IP(s) used to send it, which is key to deciding what to do next.

If it came from outside your own country, there's little that your ISP and police can do. In general, it's most effective to report it directly to the ISP from which it originated.

What email client are you using? In some, you can right-click in the message and there will be an option along the lines of "view all headers". Somewhere there may be a menu item that lets you save the complete message (including headers).

Here's SpamCop's "How do I get my email program to reveal the full, unmodified email?" guide:
http://spamcop.net/fom-serve/cache/19.html

I highly recommend signing up for a free SpamCop account, then submitting "unusual" spams as soon as you see them. Their software analyzes the headers, then sends a complaint to the actual sending ISP (based on the IP address, not the From address), and if there's enough complaints for any specific IP, that spam spewing IP is added to their blocklist. That really does help. Of particular value are spams with no embedded URLs (such as the one you received), since those are amongst the most difficult to detect reliably. Even if you only submit one per week, it helps.

SpamCop will be even more useful when the next generation of spam filters become mainstream. [Smile]


Thanks to Risuena for the FBI article. The key here is (emphasis added by me):
quote:

Due to the threat of violence inherent in these extortion e-mails, if you receive an e-mail that contains personally identifiable information that might differentiate your e-mail from the general e-mail spam campaign, we encourage you to contact the police.

In vonk's case, there appears to have been nothing personal in the message body. If the "To" header was blank, or just had your bare account name, or a wrong "real name", then definitely do not contact the police.

For example "jayne@example.com" is bare, "Torrent Marcela <jayne@example.com>" is wrong, but "Jayne Cobb <jayne@example.com>" is correct and would be cause for concern, and a valid reason to contact the authorities.

In general, it's mainly out-of-the-closet "Junk" spammers who use correct real names (these are the type who buy and sell info obtained from shady website registration/signup forms, then bombard you with all manner of Bulk, but somewhat less sleazy ads). Stealth/in-the-closet spammers harvest email addresses from a broad range of sources, and very rarely know your "real name", or any other demographic data (hence the often gender inappropriate body part enlargement spams).

If you're ever unsure about registering at a website, it's a good idea to give them a unique incorrect "real name", and keep a record of it (a little text file on your desktop, or whatever's easy for you). If you have your own domain, you can give a unique alias address for each website. Either way, if the site sells your information, you can track it back to them.


(edited to fix missing closing bold tag - my BIM!)

[ May 11, 2007, 01:38 PM: Message edited by: Chipmunk ]

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El JT de Spang
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That's some interesting info, Chipmunk.

Welcome to hatrack, and kudos on the Firefly reference.

ETA: I see that you actually registered May 2005, so you're not particularly new. But the welcome stands.

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Nighthawk
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quote:
...kudos on the Firefly reference.
Had to read it three times to see what you're talking about.

Must be too early...

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sweetbaboo
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This is disturbing, any updates vonk?
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vonk
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Well, I'm still here, so it musta been fake. I reported it to the IC3 website Risuena linked, just so there is a record.

Chipmunk - I'm a little nervous about posting the header of sending it anywhere, as it appears (I don't really understand the mumbojumbo) to have sensitive information regarding my computer and account. Thank you for the links though! The email didn't have any personal information, and the "To:" was "undisclosed-recipients".

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Chipmunk
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quote:
Originally posted by vonk:
The email didn't have any personal information, and the "To:" was "undisclosed-recipients".

Great! Then in my professional judgement, you're in the clear. [Smile]

Think about it: if they really knew who you are, and where you are, they'd have given some indication.

When this scam first came out, it was targeted. This is probably a copycat, jumping on the bandwagon, sending a typical "shotgun" blast to whatever addresses they have. If even one recipient buys into it, and responds, it was worthwhile for the spammers.

quote:
Originally posted by vonk:
I'm a little nervous about posting the header of sending it anywhere, as it appears (I don't really understand the mumbojumbo) to have sensitive information regarding my computer and account

As the owner of the domain name "ParanoidChipmunk.com", I commend you on your caution. [Smile]

It's routine in the (freeware) anti-spam community to publicly post complete samples of tastee new types of spam, so others can benefit from analyzing them. The key is to remove or mung all email addresses.

Unless you're running some unusual software, the only other potentially "sensitive" information would merely tell us who your email provider is, and possibly something about the anti-spam/anti-virus software that they're running. There's nothing dangerous in that.

Here's a real example (a rather nifty interlaced GIF) which I posted to the SpamAssassin list a few months ago.

The stuff of interest to you is the top headers section. Note how I've replaced the "To" account with angle brackets.

It does show exactly what version of SpamAssassin my webhost was running, the details of how SA evaluated the message, and the IPs/hosts who handled the email. The SA results are not harmful, because it's easy for spammers to figure that out (some spammers actively "game" SA, and read the public listserves).

Let me try to walk you through your own case.
First, copy the complete raw message to Notepad or any other editor that has a search tool. Now, search for the "@" symbol. Every time you find one, look at the stuff around it. If it's personal, just replace it, for example, change "jayne@example.com" to either "@example.com" or "<>". Now, search for just the bare account part of your address (e.g. plain "jayne"), which probably should no longer be there (replace it if you do find it).

If you'd rather not post here, you could save it to a text file, zip it up, then email it to me at "bait-hatrack@IowaHoneypot.com" with "hatrack" in the Subject line. I can pull out all the IP(s) external to your system, and at the very least, post here with what country it was sent from. If it came from Nigeria or China, that should reassure you even more. [Smile]

We're past the deadline for reporting to SpamCop, so there's no rush and no pressure. Take your time, think about it, and feel free to ask questions. [Smile]

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Chipmunk
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
That's some interesting info, Chipmunk.

Welcome to hatrack, and kudos on the Firefly reference.

ETA: I see that you actually registered May 2005, so you're not particularly new. But the welcome stands.

Thanks! [Smile]

I've Lurked on and (mostly) off for years, and been an OSC fan since the late '70s (read "Ender's Game" when it was first released in Analog).

Been a Firefly fan since moments into the first broadcast episode. [Smile]

A couple of months ago I added some new account related features to my anti-spam engine (including "real name" as a separate virtual field and the "Jayne Cobb commemorative Grenades Test"), and was straining my brain trying to figure out a way to document stuff in a way that would be both understandable to our less technical Volunteers and not too intensely boring for me.

Then it struck me: use the Firefly crew as examples!
Fun for me, and, um, "educational" for those who have not yet been converted. [Smile]

While the project did start "merely" as an anti spam research effort, it's, um, "evolved" into a Browncoat conversion tool. We even have "shiny" and "BIM" smilies in our support forums. [Smile]

In case you're wondering "What's BIM?"... from the [Smile] official project docs (which are still a mess):
quote:

Brain Is Missing
- is a cheerful Geeky way to explain an inadvertent mistake one has made.

Inspired by a beloved line from the beloved science fiction TV series Firefly:
Sir, I think you have a problem with your brain being missing.

Can be used as any of a noun, verb, or adjective, for example:
Oops - my BIM.
Oops! I really BIMed there.
Wow, that was a really BIMish move on my part.

To end on a totally gratuitous note, I'm considering naming this male Indigo Bunting "Simon", because it took him two years to get up the nerve to check out my computer room window feeder. [Smile]
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SoaPiNuReYe
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Dude sweet picture.
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