I have to admit, I didn’t pay much attention when the first email advertising new cars from a local Ford dealer came in. Never have bought a Ford. Don’t need one today. When the second email about new cars for sale arrived—this one from a local Mercedes-Benz dealer—I was irritated. How did I get on their list? Why were they spamming me?
The new cars email scam
As it turns out, I wasn’t really on a bunch of lists advertising new cars from various local dealers. In fact, I was on a phishing list. And the emails weren’t from a local dealer at all, but someone trying to con me out of my personal information. All of the links in the email were directed to a website that was not for a dealer, but designed to capture my information.
Many phishing emails can be spotted because they are filled with extraneous text unrelated to the subject of the email. In this case, the Mercedes-Benz email contained descriptions of the vehicles, which provided plenty of “content” to help the spammer get by my spam filter.
I have to admit, this was a very well done bit of spamming and, had I been the least bit interested in a new car, I might not have hesitated to click the links…except I hadn’t expressed any interest in the new cars from Mercedes-Benz, Ford, or any of the other dealers who have been used as a lure by the people behind the scam.
The unsubscribe page
While researching this post, I went to the home page for the sender of the email. The page was blank with one exception. The only thing on the page was a text field and a message, “Enter your email address to unsubscribe.” Obviously, I was not about to enter my email address on an otherwise blank page on a website I didn’t trust. But, what about the “unsubscribe” link in email spam? Nope. Don’t click. Mark the email as spam, but do not try to unsubscribe. It will only confirm your email address for the sender.
Avoiding the new cars email scam
Once again, just remember if you didn’t ask for it, don’t click the link. If you don’t know the person sending the email, don’t click the link. The rules to stay safe are always the same and quite simple. The problem is, in the little “aha” moment when our interest in piqued, we forget. And the next thing you know, the day really goes downhill.