Read the following and check out your reaction, the names in italics are the replacements for the actual names:
World Famous Retailer, in conjunction with Known Company Homes, are giving away free vouchers.
World Famous Retailer are trying word-of-mouth advertising to introduce its products and the reward you receive for advertising for them is free non-refundable vouchers to be used in any of their stores.
To receive your free vouchers by e-mail all you have to do is to send this email out to 8 people (for £100 of free vouchers).
Within 2 weeks you will receive an e-mail with your vouchers attached. They will contact you through your e-mail address. Please mark a copy to: Andy.curran@known company homes.com
Well my immediate reaction was to blame the store for turning peoples’ friends into spammers and by using this ruse bypass spam protection, and then reflecting on whether this was the next stage in spamming now the so called ‘King of Spammers’ has been shut down on the USA. I guess righteous indignation would probably sum up our reactions.

I got my copy of this mail as an attachment in a mail from a colleague who was wise enough not to forward by e mail with all the possible consequences of exposing addresses, and as is often the case in these things the obvious is not the whole story.
The mail suggested that I and others to whom she sent a copy might want to check it out and think about responding. Well, I didn’t get a chance to check it out immediately but within a few hours a further mail arrived indicating the whole thing to be a scam. The address to which the email was to be copied was a blind and the result would be a rich collection of perfectly valid email addresses. Actually the really clever piece is that the scam collects the addresses in pairs, one belonging to each friend, and that’s the most prized thing of all; a trusted relationship.
Just imagine your response to a good friend asking you to do something that seems pretty innocent; i.e. are you still banking with toy bank and at which branch? Clever scam!! You have been warned that they are getting smarter!
This has been an unusual blog piece so while I am on the topic of the web in our lives I would like to add a positive note. I use the web site of IT Week, a UK publication available as a weekly paper and as a web site, for its good summary of the news of the past seven days. It’s excellent for catching up when you have been on the road for a week. I was disappointed to find this part of the site wasn’t responding, so much so that I decided to invoke the ‘contact us’ button and ask where the pages were.
I was surprised and delighted to get a personal reply approximately two and a half hours later from David Neal the online editor promising to sort this out. That’s the web at its best! Thanks David you got my loyal readership.