Everyone who uses email gets spam. I can’t think of anyone who likes it. I don’t even know anyone who responds to it knowingly.
Of course there are the fake emails that pretend to be your bank or a delivery service saying there was a problem with a delivery. Sometimes people do mistakenly click on one of these and find they now have a virus on their computer. If it is a fraudulent email seemingly from their bank, they might be duped into entering a password or account information on a criminally run website pretending to be their bank. This can lead to identity theft, and a loss of money and time.
Spam is usually just commercial advertising that you don’t want. It is a very cost-effective way for some organizations to reach a massive amount of email addresses. Many of these are commercial in nature, in that they are offering a product, and that you might receive the product they are advertising after purchasing it. The problem is that legitimate offers for products or services, even if you don’t want to receive them, are sometime indiscernible from malicious (and also unwanted) email.
How many times do you read about one of these spammers being caught and charged with any type of criminal offenses. Probably not often.
Recently, MICHAEL PERSAUD, 36, of Scottsdale, Arizona was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice and charged with 10 counts of wire fraud. Persuad was claimed to have fraudulently registered email domains using false identities and creating fraudulent “From Address” field names to conceal that he was the sender of these spam emails.
According to Krebs on Security, Persaud has been doing this for a long time. He has also been sued, found guilty and fined before, yet this must be a lucrative business because Persaud has been at this since at least 1998. Persaud is also listed on the Spamhaus Project’s Top Ten Spammers site.
Persaud was sued by AOL in 1998, and had charges filed against him by the San Diego District Attorney’s office in 2001. He paid restitution and damages of over a half-million dollars to AOL. There seems to be a strong financial incentive for those who do this, and little downside so far.
We will have to watch this to see what the court decides on this one. For a copy of the DOJ indictment, check it out here on the Krebs on Security website: https://krebsonsecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Persaud-indictment-filed.pdf
Alleged Cyber Spammer Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges. (2017, February 7). Retrieved February 19, 2017, from https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndil/pr/alleged-cyber-spammer-indicted-federal-fraud-charges
Top 10 Spammer’ Indicted for Wire Fraud. (2017, February 8). Retrieved February 14, 2017, from https://krebsonsecurity.com/2017/02/top-10-spammer-indicted-for-wire-fraud/
The Spamhaus Project – The Top 10 Spammers. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2017, from https://www.spamhaus.org/statistics/spammers/