I pay zero attention to rubbish emails these days. Mostly it goes automatically into a spam folder which is auto-emptied without my even looking. Time is too short to waste on it. The other day, though, just for amusement, I dug into my spam folder. Here’s what I found:
- Somebody called ‘Angela’ wants to be ‘friends’. I don’t know anything more as, naturally, I wasn’t going to open the email.
- Countdown (a brand name used by Woolworths New Zealand for their low-end supermarket chain) are apparently holding the Iphone 11 I ordered from them. All I have to do is confirm my name, address, etc. Um… OK. When did I order that precisely?
- Apparently I can earn money as an AirBnB host by clicking…
- I can win a BMW X5. Or not. The email header reads ‘Your change to win a BMW X5!’, which makes no sense at all.
- Apparently $18,617.62 is waiting for me to collect, all I have to do is click and provide all my private details.
- A ‘SupportTeam’ wants me to confirm something.
- I can get healthy with ‘Noom’, whatever that is.
- I’ve been sent a secret Bitcoin code which will get me some very large sum of money, all I have to do is open the email…
- And I have 50 free spins on some online casino. Yay. Pity I don’t gamble.
Needless to say the whole lot got trashed seconds later. No doubt there will be more tomorrow. The filter’s pretty good (and I’ve tweaked it to also get rid of real estate agents, car salespeople and the rest). The only down side is that occasionally genuine email gets caught by it – and lost, because I really don’t bother looking.
Of course I am far from alone. I did a bit of checking. According to Statista, in September 2019, junk emails made up 54.68 percent of all emails sent globally. In 2018 as a whole, the rubbish rate was 55 percent. But that’s better than 69 percent in 2012.
All of which suggests that maybe the war against fraudulent emails is being won. But I don’t think it will be. What they actually represent is the reality of human nature. The fact that fraudulent attempts to deceive makes up such a high percentage of all email traffic is a sad indictment of those doing it. These are people who are selfish, dishonest, and uncaring about the damage done to strangers as long as their own needs are met. The fact that spam is so ubiquitous – and that it took such a short time to emerge to that scale – suggests that this behaviour is not merely natural to humans, it’s normal. Damn.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2020