Spam Pyramid Schemes

from the multi-level-spamming dept

It’s a bit depressing to see the details of how a spamming operation works. This article describes a spamming pyramid scheme where people are recruited by spam to sign up to spam others to recruit them to spam, and so on. It’s a typical pyramid scheme with a spam twist. What’s actually happening is that they’re signing up the same set of gullible folks over and over again, and everyone else getting spammed is collateral damage. The article finds a few people down the pyramid who complain about not getting a single response out of the millions of email they send out. What’s scary about the article is that those who fall for it don’t seem to question anything that they’re told. They’re told that the millions of email addresses they receive are “opt-in” so they assume it must be legal. They’re given the chance (for an extra fee, of course) to send out spam messages via proxy, and never question why they might need to do that. There is one guy (who didn’t receive any responses to his spam messages) who begins to realize that this is all a scam when it occurs to him that the folks running the top of the pyramid change the name of their company every month or so, and it dawns on him that people who opt-out of one company aren’t considered opted-out of any other. The really scary quote, though, comes from one woman who didn’t make any money on the last pyramid scheme, but is joining up with a new one: “I have tried multilevel marketing as far back as the 1970s, but I’ve never made any money on it,” she said. “But if everybody did what they agreed to do, I would be very wealthy.” That’s right, blame those people you’re bugging for not signing up.

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