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August 11, 2009

Secret Shopper Sloppy Spammer

I love, love, love it when a spammer wastes his own money. When he hires a botnet to spew his deceitful trash and the software misfires to eliminate any way for recipients to respond — well, I dance a little jig in my chair.

Here's the spam message that got me tapping my toes:

From: Danny Goodman
To: Danny Goodman
Subject: 364$-801$ per work day.

Our company(WA Surveys) is proud to inform you that we now have one secret-shopper position available.
This is a part time position as it doesn't take more then one hour to evaluate a store.
Your commission for each evaluation is $100 and you can receive assignments on daily basis.

If you are interested in working as a secret shopper for our company you can request more information at {_MAILS_0}
Thank you,
WA Surveys Inc.

That curly brace thing near the end is a placeholder, where the software running on the botnetted PC is meant to insert an email address where the recipient is supposed to respond (this is an HTML-formatted email message, and the text is surrounded by a mailto: URL link pointing to the same placeholder string).

Headers of this message are forged up the wazoo. I take that back: the MIME-Version: and Content-Type: fields are correct (an inside joke for header-literate readers).

I normally remove the names of offenders from my dispatches because readers might be curious enough to hunt down their web sites (whose traffic ticker would increment by one as a result). A Google search for WA Surveys Inc reveals everything you need to know on the first page of results. In fact, Better Business Bureau listings tell all that you need to know. Let me put it this way, when the BBB shows a company's Industry Classification to be Ponzi Schemes, Secret Shopper, that can't be good. Read a regional BBB's report on WA Surveys here and the BBB's F rating on the company here.

If you worry that a friend or relative might be taken in by these bogus Mystery Shopper offers, the BBB pages offer some good advice.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 04:18 PM