Why is spam at an all-time high?Nov. 23, 2021 / My Data Removal Staff
Have you ever tried spam? This article is not about the canned meat. It’s about unwanted texts, calls, emails, and snail mail, commonly referred to as spam. Some spam is just marketing, but other spam falls under the category of scams. Does anyone actually fall for them?
Spam versus scams
Spam is any unwanted messages, usually consisting of advertising. A scam is a fraudulent message with the intent to con someone out of money. Both spam and scams are annoying.
- An unwanted email that you never signed up for trying to sell you life insurance
- An unsolicited text with a link to adult content
- A random phone call from someone offering to buy your house for cash
- An email saying you won a gift card for something that you didn’t sign up for
- A text saying you need to click the link to claim your gift card
- A phone call saying there is a case against your social security number
Why are spam and scams so common?
Spam is at an all-time high because it has never been easier or cheaper to reach more people than now. Spam and scams are pretty easy to send. The cost of sending an email is either free or a small fraction of one cent. The same is true for texts. While snail mail costs money, scammers can easily make it back when they are successful.
Another reason spam and scams are so common is because they work. Maybe they don’t work with you, but if you have to send out 100 or 1,000 or even 10,000 emails or texts in order to get someone to buy what you advertise or to fall for your scam, it can be worth your time and resources. Similar to venture capital, they only need a small percentage of their “investments” to work out for them to do well.
Some people are more vulnerable to scams. The older generation is stereotypically less tech savvy and tend to be more trusting. They sadly make great targets for scams. You could also include people whose mental capacity is diminished. This could be someone under the influence or anyone who is in a susceptible or gullible state.
Sometimes scammers get lucky with their timing. They happen to send something that is currently relevant to their target. You could get a scam email about a FedEx package when you are actually expecting a FedEx package. Or maybe you were thinking about life insurance when you got the spam email about life insurance.
Why do they target me?
You are low-hanging fruit. Your information is online, waiting to be taken advantage of. Even though you never signed up for it, your information is on people search websites. Look yourself up. You can go to sites such as nuwber.com, www.truepeoplesearch.com, www.mylife.com, or ussearch.com. There are hundreds of these sites. Most of them have a profile on you and they know your phone number, email addresses, physical addresses, birthday, and who your relatives are. This is where scammers go to find their targets.
What can I do about it?
Fortunately, there is a lot you can do. Firstly, you can be increasingly critical of all unexpected messages you receive. If someone you don’t know wants you to click a link, you probably shouldn’t. If an email is too good to be true, it probably is. There simply aren’t people out there trying to give you free money, but there are plenty of scammers looking to take advantage of you.
However, while a good first step, simply being on your guard isn’t going to make the spam stop. You have three options if you want it to stop: first, change your current phone number and addresses, second, remove your personal information from people search sites, and third, stop sharing your data with everyone.
You can change your phone number and email address. While this might give you a temporary break from the harassment, how long do you think it will be before you start getting spam at the new number and address? Sadly, not very long. And you might get spam for the previous owner of your new phone number. Sometimes that can be even worse.
This is where the second option comes in. Instead of changing your phone number and address, you remove your information from people search websites so people can’t contact you in the first place. While very time intensive, can do this yourself. Here is a great resource here on where to start. You can also have someone do all the work for you and bring you peace of mind knowing your information is not out there for anyone to get. Start your Free Scan now, if you are interested.
Finally, the long-term solution is to stop sharing your personal data with so many companies. This is a lot harder than it sounds. Since almost everyone shares your data, you need to change how you sign up for, pay for, and use different services. It takes a bit of work to change the way you act online, but this is the only way to address this issue that will have lasting results. Our article on your online alias strategy can be a good place to begin. Our security checklist is also a great place to learn more strategies for decreasing your odds of being a target.
Nobody likes how annoying spam is or the damage that scams can cause. Instead of waiting around to be the next victim, it is possible to begin to proactively take back control of your online security. My Data Removal is here to help you do that.