While I’ve been waiting to hear back from HarperVoyager regarding their open submissions (just two more weeks! Oh the email-checking anxiety!), I’ve been feverishly inspecting my spam folder, just in case something slipped into the wrong folder. And boy has it been interesting.
I seem to have a fairly solid spam-catcher, and that means I have been missing out on a wealth of bizarre emails.
Now, it used to be easy to disregard spam as spammy–everything was just churning out viruses disguised as viagra. Nowadays, though, boy howdy they have gotten diverse. I’m starting to question my understanding of the spam-bots, too, developing a more earnest and empathetic relationship. Sure, it used to be low-AI robots who assumed only men existed on the internet (and only easily fooled, poorly literate, horny to distraction men at that).
But they’ve stepped up their game, and I’m mildly impressed (not sufficiently impressed to, you know, click them, but still!).
First, we have our tried-and-true category of spammers trying to convince netizens to click a link that will lead them to an attractive and desperately sexually deprived woman to talk to. That’s nice, really doing a service for all the lonely housewives out there, right? They’ve gotten better at their human-like come-ons, too; now I have fake Facebook messages, fake Ashley Madison solicitations; fake “I saw you on the subway” messages.
Basically I think we’re seeing the first steps to an AI that can successfully replace our prostitutes. (Oh noes, they be stealin’ our jobs!)
Now we also have the “exotic investment” category. This is traditionally propelled by the “long lost Nigerian prince” type of scam, but the scammers are hip and with it: they now offer to sell me Bitcoins at a low rate, and sometimes they even have a treasure trove of gold and silver they got from someone’s basement. What a deal!
In light of the Target debit/credit card breach, it’s also relevant to highlight the “I’m totes a legit business” type of spam. It’s not just Target, though; these guys cleverly disguise themselves as all sorts of companies. Banks, Starbucks, Kohls, random online dealers I know nothing about. These aren’t particularly convincing, though–spammers, you may want to take a hint from fake-Facebook-friend-Adriana and get more human.
Dear Spammers: It’s nice to see you’re evolving. Keep up the good work! But…don’t be so good that my filter can’t detect you.