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December 13, 2007

Replica Jewelry Spammers

I seem to get a lot of spam for replica watches, leather goods, and other knock-off products of high-end brands. At gift times, such as Christmas, the offers come pouring in left and right.

High-end brands spend a fortune trying to disrupt the flow of counterfeit goods, and I understand that. On the other hand, if you buy something that claims to be a Rolex watch from a sidewalk vendor for fifty bucks, you certainly can't have the expectation that the workmanship and materials are anything like a real Rolex (if there are any works inside the case at all). So much of the jewelry spam advertises the items plainly as replicas. Despite the fact that they are spamming—perhaps through an illegal botnet—you can't accuse them of false advertising.

But then, every once in awhile, you see a spam message like the one below, which is clearly trying to make the recipient believe it comes from none other than Tiffany & Co. (blocked characters shown as "+" symbols)

Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 22:05:58 -0800
From: "Tiffany Gifts" <order@tiffany+++++.com>
To: dannyg@dannyg.com
Subject: Christmas with Tiffany

Tiffancy & Co. Discount Retail Warehouse

One of the many last minute specials our Warehouse is currently offerring:

*Large Tiffany Bracelet Selection (#1 sellers this year!)
*Tiffany Earings
*Tiffany Necklaces

Shipping in-time for Christmas. Happy Holidays.


Tiffancy & Co.© 2007.

When I first observed the message body, I was amazed that the spammer would tempt fate by tangling with Tiffany & Co.'s tradename, especially in the copyright notice. That was before I could "c" the difference between the company name in the message and the real company. Can you spot the other two misspellings in the body? Sometimes the eye sees what it wants to see.

BTW, the domain name for this counterfeiter's web site was so fresh, it didn't yet show up in the whois directory. The site is hosted...ta da!...in China.

I don't condone the practice, but if you're going to buy counterfeit luxury goods, do it off the back of a truck in a nearby alley. Don't respond to the spam, as it only encourages them to spam more. The spam, alas, is all too genuine.

Posted on December 13, 2007 at 11:10 PM