'Be careful with this message': What exactly is in your spam file?

News-DemocratSeptember 21, 2013 

I don't know why people gripe so much about getting too many emails.

I guess it has something to do with how busy someone might be. Of course, to a columnist, the more email the merrier. Sometimes there is something worth writing about.

With a spam filter in place, you don't even have to look at a lot of stuff. Still I do, just to see what is in the spam file.

Mine has 87 items, all automatically shunted there by my computer. The file says it will keep them for 30 days and then delete them. I don't even have to worry about it.

Same with my trash file, which has 487 items, all of which have been put there specifically by me. It also lasts 30 days which allows me to retrieve a lot of things I accidentally throw away.

But back to the spam. It appears that a good third of the items are in foreign languages, maybe Japanese, or Chinese, or even Korean, now that I think about it. I'll never know what those are about.

There are queries from people like Vicky and Tarah, who apparently are going to be in town soon and wonder if I might want to meet. I'm not sure why.

A lot of people want to help me. Someone wants to reverse my signs of aging. Another person wants to help my online marketing. Still another wants to give me a reverse mortgage.

A guy named Ting Sun wants to deal me into his USD 19.5m business. What could go wrong? Maybe I could send him the money from my reverse mortgage.

Others want help. A woman who is on Kickstarter, a site that solicits money from people for projects, wants me to contribute to a documentary about former House Speaker Tip O'Neill.

My computer carefully warns me about some of these messages.

"Be careful with this message. Many people marked similar messages as phishing scams, so this might contain unsafe content."

How sad that someone would want to take advantage of innocent people.

So I stay out of them for safety reasons. Also, why should I care that it is the fall season in Branson, Mo.?

Sometimes, though, my curiosity gets the best of me. The email marked "Tiger Mother" had me at least looking at it.

It was from a company which has refined market research by dividing women into even more categories. They list GI Jane, Beauty Witch, Modern Courtesan and Super Athlete among others.

It tells me a Beauty Witch is a 40s or 50s woman who appears to be much younger and spends a disproportionate amount of time and money on her appearance. Therefore you can target her for more beauty brands.

The email had no definitions on the other womens' categories. You have to go to the website for that.

Instead I just hit the eliminate all spam tab and move on.

Have a column idea? Call Wally at 239-2506 or 800-642-3878; or email: wspiers@bnd.com

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