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Off topic: Spam that comes from friends
Thread poster: Alexandra Goldburt
Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 02:21
English to Russian
+ ...
Dec 29, 2008

A lot has been said about spam - in this forum and elsewhere. How to fight it, whether it is possible to fight it, or whether we should just learn to live with it... Some funny examples of span where given, as well as some questions as to whether or not one particular e-mail received was spam or not.

Yet, there is one type of spam that I haven't seen discussed. It is, in my opinion, the most upsetting spam: spam that comes from friends.

Thanks to the internet, I was able to make friends the world over. I have had a very rewarding exchange of e-mails in different languages, and I hope to live long enough and to have enough money to travel and to met all my virtual friends in person.

But, here comes a downside: kinds of e-mails I'd rather not receive.

I open my mailbox and see an e-mail coming from somebody I wanted to hear from - and I think, oh great, so-and-so wrote to me... But it turns out she didn't bother to write a single word! She just resend me one of the infamous "chain e-mails" - things that a person sends to all her contacts. Something that has a message about love, friendship, peace on Earth, etc., with pictures, sometimes even music, and always has this wording at the end: "An now, you have 10 minutes to re-send it to 10 friends". Sometimes it threatens you with dire consequences if you don't.

I cringe when I get it... and I get it few times a week, in different languages.

Another equally unwelcome kind of e-mails are obnoxious invitations to social network services - such as Tagged, WAYN, Hi5, and many others, too numerous to name them all.

The especially obnoxious kind of such invitation asks you a question: is so-and-so your friend? If you click on "yes", you are taken to that web-site sign-in process...

There are people who don't send you anything personally written by them for months, but bombard you with this kind of invitations. It seems to me a rather strange concept of friendship...

I'm afraid there is no way to stop it, or even to reduce it. It's probably something I'll have to learn to live with. Anyway - thank you for letting me take it off my chest. I really needed to say it.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful New Year!


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:51
German to English
I know what you mean Dec 29, 2008

Alexandra Goldburt wrote:
I open my mailbox and see an e-mail coming from somebody I wanted to hear from - and I think, oh great, so-and-so wrote to me... But it turns out she didn't bother to write a single word! She just resend me one of the infamous "chain e-mails" - things that a person sends to all her contacts. Something that has a message about love, friendship, peace on Earth, etc., with pictures, sometimes even music, and always has this wording at the end: "An now, you have 10 minutes to re-send it to 10 friends". Sometimes it threatens you with dire consequences if you don't.

I cringe when I get it... and I get it few times a week, in different languages.

Another equally unwelcome kind of e-mails are obnoxious invitations to social network services - such as Tagged, WAYN, Hi5, and many others, too numerous to name them all


Yes, I know, I get these very often and it's really irritating that they come from people you consider your friends and don't even include a "How are you?" or any other kind of personal message. What's even worse is, the next time you meet this friend and they ask you "Did you get my e-mail about such and such thing, because you didn't reply?"

Anyway, have good week and a Happy New Year to you too!


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 12:21
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Very annoying indeed Dec 29, 2008

I can't stand those chain emails... even with cute puppies.

But the one type of chain email that really gets me going is hoax warnings. There's a new computer virus out, a new way criminals are attacking people, a dangerous substance found in food, or whatever danger is now lurking around the corner. I know a thing or two about urban legends and they are very interesting as a type of folklore, but that some people actually believe this stuff and send it out... You can always see right from the title it'll be a pile of cr*p.

For the urban legend -spammer friends there is a cure though. Always look up a credible source that debunks the message in question and forward it to everyone who received the original to let them all know our friend is fooling everyone with potentially dangerous hoaxes. It may take several servings of Snopes.com, but they will take you off that mailing list.


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:21
English to French
+ ...
You may have caused it Dec 29, 2008

Are you registered, as well as your friends, in common mailing lists? It is very easy to extract e-mail address lists from such group e-mails, and if spammers choose randomly couples of addresses in these lists, odds are that a number of these couples know each other...
Well, I am not an expert, and there are probably other clever ways of generating spam, but be aware that knowing the address of the sender is not enough... There must be something in the title or contents - other than the e-mail addresses - which clearly identifies yourself and/or the sender.
Remember that a spammer can easily replace his own identity by whichever e-mail address he has on hand...

[Modifié le 2008-12-29 12:23 GMT]


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 02:21
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your answers! Dec 29, 2008

Niraja: I hear you. Goodness, people you are talking about are even worse! They think they don't have to include even "How are you?" when they write, and yet, in the same time, they believe it's your obligation to answer? The concept of politeness some people have...

Taija: you are right - cute puppies don't make spam any less tolerable! (Or cute teddy bears, or cute whatever...)

Yes, I receive my fair share of "warnings" (probably many the same ones you receive - they travel around the globe). Yet I would hesitate to reply to everyone who receive the original with "so-and-so is fooling around". You see, this sort of span frequently comes from the nicest people you know! Mistaken as they are, they quite sincerely believe they are doing you a great favor. I just don't have the heart to throw cold water on them...

Bohy - stealing e-mail addresses by spammers, who later pretend they are my friends indeed happens - I once received an e-mail that appeared to come from a friend which said, in essence, "I'm stranded in Nigeria with no money, please help!". However, this type of spam is not that frequent. What I'm talking about here is spam that comes from my friends themselves - NOT from someone who stole their addresses. They send is willingly and knowingly, thinking that the attachment they send is cute, or that the warning they send is legitimate, or they have joined every social network under the sun and think I should do the same.

There must be a tactful way to ask them to stop, but I just cannot think of one. Any ideas?


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Galina Mitrohovitch  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:21
Portuguese to Russian
+ ...
I delete without opening Dec 29, 2008

After I nearly got virus in my computer from one of these messages I stopped to open them even if coming from a closest friend. Well, it is also true that my closest friends do not send me this kind of things.

Happy New Year to everybody! And without spam!
Galina


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:21
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Chain letters & such Dec 29, 2008

Chain letters have been around since before I was born with the same stupid warnings about passing them on or awful things will happen. Now it's just easier and cheaper to pass on such trash in the digital world.

I get the occasional laugh out of all the forwarded joke spam, and I don't really mind it most of the time. In fact, I even subscribe to a list run by a friend who has been distributing a joke or funny story once a day for a decade. What really worries me, however, are the non-text spam mails - PPS presentations, pictures, small executables and other potential virus vectors. I delete those immediately even if they do pass my virus scanner. It's bad enough that I have to worry about viruses from all the customer files I see. Dialogs announcing macros in a Word file always give me a special feeling Some days I think it would be healthier to work in a red light district.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 06:21
English to Spanish
Right there with you... Dec 29, 2008

I really cannot stand this kind of spam. To make it worse, about half my friends who send that cr*p don't even bother to use bcc!!!!

Now jokes are another matter. I also send jokes if I find them really, really funny... but only to my closest friends (those with whom I talk or chat on a regular basis) and using bcc.

::growl::

Andrea


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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
I know what you mean Dec 30, 2008

I've had to write to people saying "So-and-so, I love to get messages from you and to learn how you and your family are doing. But, you know, I use the computer for work, and much as I enjoy the pictures you send me, they slow down my inbox tremendously [strictly true]. Could you please only send personal messages until my server improves?". If they continue to send chains and spam, I simply block the sender. Some people have understood my attitude and our communications have in fact improved. Others... are in the trash.

I think it's a matter of respect. And I make a point of not forwarding chain letters. Prayers under threat? Good wishes that are second-hand at best? Sorry, I'm a boring person. I prefer very few words, but from the heart.

Now I just reread what I wrote and it sounds really nasty. Unfortunately, it's the truth.

Best wishes,

Lucía


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:21
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
- Dec 30, 2008



[Edited at 2008-12-30 15:12 GMT]


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 02:21
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your answers - I learn from all of you! Dec 30, 2008

Galina - deleting without opening seems to be a right thing to do (and emptying the recycling bin immediately afterward!)

Kevin - oh, I remember those handwritten chain letters of the good old days... (I mean, pre-computer era). How the things have changed - and how they stayed the same!

Ariffo - you are so right about the rudeness of not using bcc! Not only they spam me, but they reveal my e-mail address to the dozens of strangers! And then I start receiving spam from those strangers!

Jacana, what you wrote doesn't sound nasty to me at all. I fact, I want to ask your permission to use your response, "I love to get messages from you and to learn how you and your family are doing. But, you know, I use the computer for work, and much as I enjoy the pictures you send me, they slow down my inbox tremendously [strictly true]. Could you please only send personal messages until my server improves?" - it is precisely the tactful way to let this people know that I'm not thrilled with cute puppies and teddy bears that they fill my mailbox with. I hope it's OK with you if I copy it exactly and send it to my own spammers!

Thank you all for your support! Have a wonderful New Year, and may it be spam-free!


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