Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of these “funeral notice” emails pop up in my spam filter. Being that I’ve been a regular on the Interwebs since junior high, I know well enough not to fall for this (rather disgusting) class of spam techniques.
What does concern me, however, is spam like this falling into the hands of, say, my parents. My mom & dad, both in their sixties, are online on a regular basis, and each have email accounts with Hotmail (don’t ask me why). There’s nothing particularly wrong with Hotmail, per se, but at times, the anti-spam filters in that provider are lacking.
My mom, especially, doesn’t have a great concept of differentiating spam from real emails (she once told me Google wanted to hire her– considering she still types by pecking at the keyboard, I had to break the news to her that this was rather unlikely).
They also, unfortunately, fall into the age-range where people they know do pass away, perhaps more often than that of those in my own age group. The combination of online-gullibility & age could be potentially dangerous, both for their computers and, possibly, bank accounts.
Obviously, that is exactly the market that this particular spam technique is going after. Middle-age plus Americans are in large supply, and while many are fairly adapt to the dangers of being online, this form of spam can hit an emotional nerve, and possibly, cause some to disregard what they may know about Internet hoaxes, becoming a victim to malware, viruses, or, worse, identity theft.
I have shared this with my parents, as should you. A little knowledge can go a long way to protecting friends & family against hackers and thieves.