Current Status

This blog is not frequently updated because most case-by-case scam reports are now listed in subordinate blogs. At this point in time, most of my efforts are targeted at documenting employment scams in the Suckers Wanted blog.


Spam: Make Money Fast with Referral Spamming

I haven't had a really good brain-meltingly stupid MMF ("make money fast") spam in ages. I had forgotten what it was like to read fifty paragraphs of "this really works", "don't miss this opportunity", "you mak be sceptical, but this really works", "I made thousands of dollars a day by doing nothing at all", and so on, before you get to the punchline: send money to the person at the top of the list and add yourself at the bottom.

To be fair, though, this spam is more insidious than that. It's not just a classic pyramid scheme scam, it's also an attempt to cash in on a substantial number of referral schemes, notably including PayPal's referrals programme. Spamming is, of course, strictly forbidden by the terms and conditions associated with PayPal's programme. I've notified PayPal of this abuse, and hopefully the spammer will have his account terminated with prejudice.

Referral programmes are a nice idea in theory, but they are abuse-magnets in practice. The party running the scheme must have strong anti-spam policies in place, or it just becomes a spam-by-proxy scheme. And even if you do have strong anti-abuse policies in place, that opens another possible abuse: Joe jobs. Determining the details of this possible abuse are left as an exercise to the reader.

This spam was received from (address delegated to "Thrunet", Korea) on Fri, 8 Apr 2005 15:14:29 -0000. Rather than copy and paste the honking great thing here (particularly given the amount of work that fixing the HTML would involve), I'll simply note that much the same thing can be found online at and The incoming spam appears identical to the first of these pages, which appears to be a poor copy-and-modify job of the second. I don't really recommend visiting either page, so here's the choicest quotation: "To date, I have made exactly $1440,000. My accountant has drawn up a cash-flow forecast in which he predicts that, within the next 24 months, I will become a Millionaire just through this one business alone."

No comments: