How do I reply to spam emails

Answered a spam email - and what happened next

Millions of spam emails are sent every day. Most of them are simply deleted again unread. The colleagues of our sister publication Computerwoche thought that they could no longer watch this waste. That's why they took one of the many emails as an example, fulfilled the sender's most ardent wish and sent him an answer.

The selection was not easy for the colleagues, as the offerings of the spam senders range from penis enlargements, dubious pill offers and love oaths of hitherto unknown beauties to almost unbelievably large sums of money waiting in unclaimed accounts for new owners. You have chosen a "scam mail".

Scammers always follow the same pattern. They promise a fantastic amount of money that is looking for a new owner for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, the senders of these e-mails cannot get the money without outside help, which is why they found our e-mail address in the depths of the Internet in order to unearth the treasure with us. Anyone who accepts such an offer will sooner or later be confronted with new fees and costs that have to be paid without ever ending up with money in their own account.

The protagonists of our little email dalog

Computer week: The Alter Ego of Computerwoche, 65 years old, retired, tends to be a little suspicious, but deeply religious
Paul Dencole (or Den Cole): The scammer
Mr. Robert Gill, Operation Manager of the Trans Alliance Group: Also the scammer
Mr. Tom Hendry, Tom Chamber & Associate, Attorney: Our scammer again

With the exception of the first three e-mails, the original e-mail traffic was conducted in English and translated into German for better understanding. Some of the replies from our scam sender may seem a bit confusing and grammatically adventurous when you first read them. This is because the English originals were linguistically adventurous over longer stretches. The author's comments are indicated in the following by square brackets.

The next page starts with the "bait mail". Read the log of a small email conversation.

  1. No profile picture
    If the profile picture is missing, this is a pretty good indication that you are dealing with a spammer or even a bot. Likewise, lascivious images or model faces indicate a fake profile.
  2. Automatic direct message
    As soon as you follow the person concerned, you will receive an Auto-DM - ​​an automatic direct message. Usually the content is of a promotional nature. According to the motto: You like my tweets, then subscribe to our newsletter .. This is all about marketing.
  3. Foreign language
    It also becomes suspicious if, for example, you tweet 100 percent in German and suddenly someone retweets you who otherwise only tweets in Japanese or Russian. Something like that should only get you to follow - and Zack is the spam in the timeline.
  4. Ratio of followers to the number of those whom the account owner himself follows
    For example, if someone has more than 10,000 followers (which happens with popular profiles), but follows around 20,000 followers themselves, that makes you suspicious. Anyone who follows so many hopes for reciprocal love and tries to increase his following in order to suggest content.
  5. Worthless tweets
    Probably the most unmistakable sign of a spammer are worthless to exclusively promotional tweets. A few requests to buy or links to web shops do not interfere. But if that gets out of hand it gets annoying.
  6. It is best to read back a few pages on the relevant profile before you follow someone.
    Short URL and no bio in the profile