Author: R.Hughes (21 Nov 04 2:51pm)
For a while, I was responding to some of the refinance spam messages.
I would "Click Here" and be taken to a website form asking for mortgage
information. I would provide my real name & phone number, and would
NOT provide a real email address (instead I would enter something like
"email@example.com" to satisfy the form gods). For the home address,
I would provide a street name corresponding to the email sender. For
example, if the spam email was from "Joe Conrad," I would provide an
address like "123 Conrad Street." Then I would put the email in a folder
containing just the messages I responded to.
Within a few days I would get a half-dozen or so phone calls from real
mortgage brokers asking if they could help refinance my house. Almost
invariably, these real human beings were unaware that the money that
they were spending to buy leads was financing spam operations. They
would say (sincerely) that they were CERTAIN the leads they were buying
were from people filling out forms on the web. I would patiently explain
that that was true, but that it was spam that got people to the website
form in the first place. Then I would ask them what the address was
on their lead. When they said "123 Conrad Street" I would search my
mail folder for "Conrad" and then tell the poor mortgage broker where
the spam came from (Russia, or China, or Switzerland, or wherever
the email headers indicated the mail came from). I asked why the
so-called "legitimate" lead company they were purchasing leads from
would send email promoting their website from a faraway land.
No idea. Then I would explain how computer viruses allow spammers
to hijack remote computers to send email from, and why spammers
hijack foreign computers (to circumvent domestic laws).
Understand that these real human mortgage brokers suffer from spam,
AND from computer viruses. Once they realized that the source of their
spam & malware pain was the same community from which they were
purchasing leads, and that they themselves were actually providing the
$$$ (by purchasing leads) that made the whole machine operate, they
would often become angry and feel duped. In concluding the conversation,
I would refer them to spam education sites where they could get more
information about the problem.
I am hopeful that many of these brokers would then cease doing business
with the spammer. Along the way, I did discover that mortgage leads sell
for $30 ~ $40 EACH!
If you try this, always be courteous to the person that calls you.
Remember, "We're all in it together!" (Harry Tuttle)