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Taking a Stand Against Spam

In August, Keith Hammonds uncovered the dirty little secret about spam. Now, the Guardian reports that some spam recipients are starting to fight back against email conmen — particularly people behind the Nigerian money scams — publicly outing them in what’s been called the Net’s first blood sport.

One site documenting this activity, 419 Eater, encourages spammers to send their targets photographs of themselves holding up signs with the target’s supposed name. Some even send their passports. The fake names are funny in an infantile way — some may not be work safe — but overall, the service saddens me. Not only are spam cons criminal, the conmen fall prey to the very misled trust they’re trying to use to weedle money out of their victims.

While organizations such as the Anti-Spam Research Group continue to find technical solutions, perhaps this kind of vigilante justice is also effective. If anything, it shows that turnabout is sometimes unfair play.

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