Just As I Thought

Spamming in new boxes

When we think of spam, we think (most of us, some of us think of spiced ham) of the inbox. The infinitely large virtual inbox that seemingly overflows with junk telling us how to enlarge parts of our bodies or reduce others; entices us with the promise of riches just for helping launder some money through our bank accounts; shows us where we can buy watches that look just like Rolex but without the inflated price.
Recently, I’ve been noticing that the wretched spammers are thinking outside the inbox. Now they’re targeting the mailbox and voicemail box.
A couple of months ago I received a letter in the mail, sent from London. The letter was a classic Nigerian financial scam, but instead of sent to my email it was printed and mailed overseas to my house. I stared at it in bewilderment — sending an email to try to scam someone is cheap, a fraction of a cent. But posting an actual physical letter from the UK? That cost the spammer 78p just for the postage (about, oh, $1.50). I don’t know how many they sent, but it wasn’t cheap.
Then this morning I received a call on my mobile phone, from a London number (44 2075986777, in case you’re wondering). Since I don’t know anyone in London — at least, no one who knows my mobile number — I let it go to voicemail. To my surprise, they actually left a message.
It was a credit card scammer. I’ve seen their emails plenty of times, those spams claiming that you’ve been approved for a credit card limit increase, and that you must act within the next 24 hours to get it and, by the way, there’s a nominal $49 fee for the increase.
Well, that’s what the voice mail was.
Every day we are innundated with scams and spams everywhere we look — in our mailbox, our phones, and our televisions (“Lose weight without dieting! We couldn’t say it on television if it wasn’t true!”). I’m saddened but not surprised that as a civilization we haven’t become more savvy; we are still easily flim-flammed by quacks and snake-oil salesmen, and with the addition of technology and ubiquitous communications, we’re so much more easily targeted.
I often wonder if our technological advances have far outpaced our societal advances. I think the answer is quite obvious, really.

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