So I sent them to
I love sandboxes. I can build whatever I want, see how
it works, see how it breaks, and when done with a few waves of my hands
I'm back to a pristine plot of sand to build the next thing. In this
case, I built a little email trap to see where all the costco gift card
email data propagated.
Remember, nothing is free!
If you aren't paying for something, then you are the product being
Think about that for a few seconds. If you don't pay for
Facebook, or Instagram, or MySpace, or whatever site, then who is paying
for it? Computers cost money, run on electricity that costs money, take
labor to setup and maintain that cost people's time and unless they are
doing it for love then the people that maintain those servers are
getting a salary - thus doing it for money.
That doesn't mean that if you pay for something that
you / your information isn't also a product that is being sold! But that is a
So what? So I typed
my email address into that site - who cares?
Maybe you care, maybe you don't. Maybe you like spam! I
hear it makes tasty sandwiches. I don't like it and wish I didn't have
to deal with it, and so do most people I know.
But maybe you like it? If so, go ahead and enter your
real email address everywhere you can!
Enough with the words
- get to the point already.
Ok, so I know that anything that came into
email@example.com is really spam
and I can drop it on the floor. Instead, I moved it all into one folder
so you could see just what entering that email address into one box in
the hopes of getting a $500 Costco card netted me.
To the best of my knowledge, this offer is not
Costco's, nor is it Facebook sponsored - it is the spammers and
scammers using Facebook, and Walmart, Costco, and other companies to
lure you into their schemes.
Also, keep in mind all I did was enter my email address
on the first page. I didn't do any of the other offers, didn't meet any
of the requirements, didn't give out any other personal information. I
also have a number of block lists which reject mail from known spammers
- so these emails that did come in made it through all those defenses.
I'll bet a ton were dropped on the floor and never made it to my junk
mail folder - and most were at least flagged as junk mail.
Here is the first page of spam, all sent to the
firstname.lastname@example.org fake email
address I'd created:
At the bottom, you can see when I first entered my
email and the confirmation request, which I never did confirm. The
next day, the spam started and has continued ever since:
I would like to think that if I did complete all the
fields and participate in the various offers that I would have gotten a
costco card. That isn't what I was testing here, but given all the
"offers" and "loans" and deals that are being thrown my way, my opinion
is that most of you should just stay away from these schemes.
Follow the mantra: "If it sounds too good to be
true, it probably is."
Or, before you click on that link, think of P.T.
Barnum's phrase: "There is a sucker born every minute."