The email blast “name game” takes creativity to new lows

The spam and delete-item boxes of our company’s email accounts are working overtime these days. Never before have we been bombarded with more bogus and unasked-for solicitations.

It seems the spam filter we have here at LoBo & Petrocine has more leaks than cheesecloth trying to hold back a tsunami.

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I have also noticed a not-to-subtle shift in the type of email solicitations that I personally am receiving. All the Viagra® and Cialis® messages have finally let up, only to be replaced by such online gems as these:

“Someone is searching for you and doing a background check.”
(Good luck with that. I’m right here.)

“Lose 40 lbs. with Dr. Oz’s amazing diet breakthrough.” (Is the secret lopping off my ass?)

“Your credit score has dropped 200 points. Check it for free.” (Not again. I knew I shouldn’t have bought that Lamborghini.)

“The Cami Bra smoothes rolls and bulges and eliminates layers.” (Do they make one for men?)

“Meet attractive Russian woman in your area.” (Why would I want to do that? My American wife would kill me.)

You have to laugh not to cry. The new wave of email blasts is a rip. But I have also noticed something else… Email scammers are trying harder than ever to lure us into opening their cyber blasts by being much more creative when it comes to the names listed as senders.

Do you know Skyler Busby or Robert Madrid or Rafael Philagree or Bridget Outlaw or Sheri Newsworthy or Angelina Esquivel or Bethany Meadows? These are just some of the highly imaginative and fictitious senders I am receiving email from. Many sound like names from a romance novel or soap opera.

It seems that someone in the business of sending out emails en masse has decided that creative 50-character subject lines are no longer enough to lure us in. I believe they believe that if we receive an email from a name with a poetic or familiar ring to it, we may be more enticed to delve deeper.

I have also received phony emails from such luminaries as James Joyce, William Macy, Karol Burnett, Mindy Crawford, James Lipton, Phil Clinton. Stella Stevenson, Barbra Streisland and D. Rick Jeter. I guess just getting close to a real famous name is good enough.

Ever listen to the Howard Stern show on Sirius Radio? Well, in the last few days, I have received emails from almost the entire show’s staff on anything and everything from “lowering my blood pressure” to “getting instant mortgage relief”. The phantom senders? Robin Quibbers (Robin Quivers), Ted Norris (Fred Norris), Harry Delabate (Gary Delabate) and Ben Stern (Howard’s father’s name in real life). Does someone out there know that I am a loyal Stern listener? Pretty scary thought.

But even more devious and insidious is receiving emails from people you know in everyday life who never sent them. Like the people I work with. It’s very disturbing how today’s cyber wizards are hacking address books or whatever else to send emails from senders that look totally legit and familiar.

Of course, I have also received more than one email from “me, myself and I” that I didn’t send. Pretty clever…but sorry…I never, ever open emails from online doppelgangers!

© Prepared by LoBo & Petrocine Marketing Communications, a Melville, Long Island advertising agency serving a wide range of clients in education, finance, healthcare, natural nutrition, hospitality, the automotive industry and more.