Spam is an annoying aspect of email and most of the garbage email that sneaks past the filters gets trashed by your delete button anyway. So why do people do it? If 99% of the spam sent out gets filtered, sent to the junk folder, totally rejected or deleted once it reaches your inbox, what’s the point?
The answer is simple, money!
Spammers assume they can take shortcuts and send unsolicited email to entice people with money scams, get rich quick schemes, Viagra offers, and just about anything else you can imagine to get ahold of your money. There is often financial incentive for these spammers to send this garbage out to the masses. If you’ve ever received an email from a Nigerian Prince or the late General Mumimbo’s wife, which I assume most of us now have, asking you to help them get the millions of dollars out of their country, you know where I am coming from. All they need you to do is provide your bank account information to store their millions and they’ll cut you in for a share. Now if you think about this for a moment, you might think to yourself, who would be stupid enough to fall for this old scam? Now think about how many people these spammers need to fall for this scam to make it worthwhile for them. If your answer is anything other than “1”, you’re not on the same page as the rest of us.
Let’s do the math.
If a spammer sends out 10 million spam emails and gets 1 moron to send them money, their probably well ahead of the cost it took to send out those millions of emails. According to the FBI, these online scams cost Americans $485 million a year. The Internet Crime Complaint Center annual report said the number of complaints about online fraud rose 3.4 percent in 2012 to 314,252. Even though these figures are posted by a government authority, they are still low and not accurate due to the fact that a large percentage of people who get scammed never come forward to file a complaint because they are too embarrassed. These scams often result in both monetary and emotional distress. On average, each victim reported a loss of approximately $8,900.
In 2008, an Oregon woman, Janella Spears, lost $400,000 to a Nigerian advance-fee fraud scam, after an email told her she had inherited money from her long-lost grandfather. Her curiosity was piqued because she actually had a grandfather whom her family had lost touch with, and whose initials matched those given in the email. Spears sent hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of more than two years, despite her family, bank staff and law enforcement officials all urging her to stop.
Spammers will never disappear or stop trying to deliver their scam emails into your inbox. They will be around as long as email is a technology people use to communicate. Spammers will continue to send junk and scam type emails as long as there are gullible and ignorant people who will buy what they are promoting or continue to send them money due to their own greed and stupidity.