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A Dispatch

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October 16, 2005

Reading the News Today—Oh Boy...

I usually don't reference news articles in this blog because there are plenty of spam- and scam-related Web sites and blogs acting as metanews outlets. But I wanted to make some brief comments on two articles that appeared recently.

First is an item from CNet discussing renewed enforcement actions in Nigeria to cut into the advance-fee (a.k.a. 419) schemes that have plagued the world since before email. I'm obviously all for whatever the Nigerian government can do to shut down the gangs. If it means getting the help of Microsoft's expertise, that's great, too. What disturbs me, however, is the attitude conveyed by this quote from a Nigerian government official:

The measures are starting to show. The scammers are moving out of the country. Things are changing a lot and changing our lives.

What does that mean? If the scammers aren't in Nigeria anymore, then the problem has gone away? I don't think this fellow has any idea about the public relations nightmare that these ripoff artists have given Nigeria. No matter where they physically originate, 419 scams will forever be associated with Nigeria. Heck, the scam's nickname comes from a Nigerial criminal code number.

Second is a The Detroit News article about an FBI raid and seizure of the computers of Alan Ralsky, a high-volume email marketer who has been in Spamhaus' sights for years. What I found most interesting about the article is that the raids occurred back in September. It also states that he sent mortgage spam. Is it just a coincidence that my mortgage spam dropped significantly in September? Let's hope not.

Posted on October 16, 2005 at 03:05 PM