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Sophisticated Spam

by William R. Eubank

The following message was waiting for me when I checked my mail on Thursday:

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Date: Thursday, June 26, 1997  2:43am             Electronic Mail
From: bits@erols.com Msg#: 989510
  To: William Eubank
  Re: Thank you for joining!

Thank you for subscribing to the b2000.com mailing list!
You will receive details of our special offers daily!

Keep your eye on www.b2000.com for updates


John Bell


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My problem was that I couldn't remember subscribing to the b2000.com mailing list.

My thought process went something like this (I always get this picture in my mind of Homer Simpson's brain talking to itself when this happens to me):

          *****A computer error - it was mailed by mistake*****

          ^^^^^That's possible, remember when you got that
               e-mail that had nothing to do with you. . .
               and you sent one to Bob at Consensus.com
               and got a reply from someone in California
               that wasn't Bob - because you had the
               address wrong - yeah - and the one from
               the girl that said she would realllly like
               to correspond with you. . .^^^^^

          *****Somebody played a joke on you and subscribed you
               to a listserv that is going to flood you
               with e-mail about the sexual habits of the
               Emporor penguin. . .*****

          (then my thoughts turned more sinister)

          *****Someone has got your account ID and password
               and is out signing you up for stuff, and they
               are going to start signing you up for all
               kinds of stuff, and your accounts will be
               a disaster. . .*****

Panic started to set in - I reread the note and saw the www.b2000.com address and decided I had better visit the site and see what kind of a mess I was in for. And this is what I found.

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|Advertising | Banners|

Where You Find The BEST Values on the Internet
Brought to you by:

Bell Information Technology Services BITS, Inc.
This is the Home Site of b2000.com Your Resource for Quality and
Value on the Internet.
Goodies - Bargains - Freebies - Opportunities
See Who Won the b2000 Web Page Drawings!
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Well, so far so good - at least it wasn't a gaggle of wild eyed scientist yammering about penguins - then I saw the next headline:

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Forged e-mail SPAM Alert: If you received an e-mail titled "Thank you for joining!" from b2000.com -- IT WAS FORGED!

We Do Not use bulk e-mail, and we Do Not send out e-mail announcements. Apparently a spammer did not like our anti-Spam policy and did a mass e-mailing of a fake b2000 "announcement". We are taking steps to prosecute culprit. Click here for more info
about the spam.
|Advertising | Banners|
|Advertising | Banners|
|Advertising | Banners|
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Well, I clicked and there were all kinds of testimonials about how John Bell was a real good guy and a real anti-spammer and a victim of this big spam forgery.

Then my Homer Simpson brain really got confused - like it wasn't before - it knew that I had been spammed but it didn't know if I was a pawn in a revenge plot against John Bell - which got me to his b2000 site (where I actually clicked on some of the advertising banners) - or if I am the spamming victim of John Bell.

Is this sophisticated spamming or what?

William R. Eubank has taught in Alaska, China, Hong Kong, Texas, Mexico and Argentina and has served on local and state school boards. He has contributed to "Caregiving" (a national newsletter for persons caring for an aging relative found at: http://pages.prodigy.com/caregiving ), "the Warbonnet" (a publication of the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society found at http://www.kcmo.com/atsf), and is Webmaster at One Crossroads Place BBS and serves as Web Librarian for the Gibson Digital Library found at http://www.kcmo.com/gdl

Added to the WWW 08-01-96
Updated 08-01-97

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William R. Eubank
1632 Burcham Drive
East Lansing, Michigan 48823
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