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.


Info: New Extremes in Image Spam

Headache-inducing stock-touting spam It's common for spammers to place their message in a graphic image instead of plain text. They do this as a means to avoid spam filters. After all, if a computer can't read what the image says, then it's hard to tell whether it's just a picture attachment, or an image with a load of spammy text in it. We do have some ability to extract text from an image -- a process called "optical character recognition" (OCR) -- but it's not terribly reliable, and is made worse by bad images. Consequently, many spammers -- especially the stock-touting "pump and dump" spammers -- corrupt their images to make them harder for computers to read.

This particular spammer has taken the practice of image corruption to new extremes. The background contains various blotches of colour, and the lines of text are all slightly off kilter. I hope that nobody takes stock purchasing advice from a message that looks like it's abusing psychoactive drugs like this.


Joe said...

I don't understand the stock scam spams - what exactly are you supposed to do with the information anyway? Seems to me to be a bit pointless.


Spotter said...

Useful information on this type of scam can be found at the SEC website. The short version is that the spammer buys a load of the stock in question, then sends out glowing reports about how it's going to go up massively in value in the near future. If this persuades enough people to buy the stock, the price will be pushed up by demand, and then the spammer sells out at a profit. This activity is illegal: it falls under the category of "securities fraud".

Anonymous said...

Expanding on this particular email series.

Not only is it blotched, with wavering lines and distorted fonts, but the blotch pattern and the image size vary from image to image.

I am not certain, but I suspect, that a new image is generated for each email. Cleary not running on his own machines!

Spotter said...

According to a recent report, much of this pump-and-dump junk is being generated by a Russian-controlled botnet of around 70,000 machines. So yeah, not running on their own machines, strictly speaking.