Friday 25 October 2013

Fake 'burglary' accusation

I was rather startled this morning to receive the following email in my capacity as President of apdo-uk - the Association that supports, promotes and develops our industry of professional organising and decluttering.

Name: Kathie
Email address:
Organisation: Kathie

Hello, I am writing in an unusual case ... Some time ago, I used your services, and one of your employees face was familiar to me. At dinner with my wife, it turned out that he was a burglar, who 5 years ago broke into our home!!! This is ridiculous!!! How you can hire criminals? I found at least 3 bad entries for him at website for background check!! I am sure there are more!!! Please do something about it, things like that are ridiculous!!!

I didn't have serious concerns about it, for several reasons. Firstly, apdo-uk is not an employer at all, but an Association, and we have clear disclaimers all over our site: it's the clients' responsibility to check the appropriateness and credentials of any of our members they wish to work with. Secondly, the email refers to a man, and out of 105 current members just five of them are men. They picked an organisation with entirely the wrong demographic for this message.

And then, of course, there's the overall style of the email. Poor grammar, excessive exclamation marks... the hallmark of a spammer.

I replied briefly in any case, pointing out the above, and also that I'd need explicit details before investigating any of our members further. However, a quick trawl on Google afterwards proved my suspicions. The (probably fictitious) Kathie Kearns has sent many such emails, especially to folks in the hospitality industry, as I found on this online noticeboard. [This particular gmail address appears also on several lists of noted spammers.]

The question was: why? The email I received contained no links nor attachments. If it was spam in the real sense, one of those would surely have been present. However, looking at the reports on the above forum from other folks that have been spammed, this idiot proves to be exceptionally bad at their job: in my email, they've missed out the link (to a site called Everifies, ostensibly providing online checks on businesses). I don't suggest clicking on it - although according to the forum, the website has now been taken down in any case.

I'm posting this to flag up the situation in the hope that my article will also appear in Google searches for key phrases or for this email address, if anybody else, like me, is suspicious. However, as one poster on the forum put it, "with 40 branches around the country it had me going for a minute". It would be very easy for a member of a large corporation to take the accusation seriously, and to follow a link to a site that may well have had malware.

Honestly. Even the quality of spammers is deteriorating!