Spammers: Alf and Alvin

I’ve been coping a lot of spam recently and if it wasn’t for the filter, I would be spending hours sifting through the real and the crap.  The following are my thoughts as to what spammers are. First of all, they are all annoying, exasperating and antagonizing people. I have this image of your everyday spammer sitting in his or her bedroom, eyes glued to a computer screen. Next to his or her left hand is a list of email addresses from around the planet. This spammer, whom we’ll call “Alvin”, has been given this list by “Alf”. For some reason, I consider most spammers to be men. Let’s meet Alvin. He wears thick-lensed glasses, has a face that looks like the pizza he consumes daily shoves into a fat, bloated body. He wears the same underwear for week’s on end and bathes when he feels ants from the left-over pizzas, crawling up his ass. Alvin doesn’t have any friends, he’s a geek and therefore, his entire life is spent at his computer. He also doesn’t live at home any more. He moved out years ago after his parents gave him the ultimatum – “Get off your ass and get a job, or get the fuck out!” Alvin got the fuck out. How does Alvin live? Well, he gets a small retainer from the head spammer, who as mentioned, goes by the name of “Alf”. Alvin and others like him, have never met Alf and never will. Each month Alf puts money into Alvin’s bank account and faxes him an updated list of email addresses. If one of the recipients of Alvin’s spam – actually clicks on it and opens it – thus infecting his or her machine, Alvin gets a bonus from Alf.

Alf now has access to “John’s” computer and is now about to start stealing all of his personal information. Alvin is not privy to this stage in the spamming game, he is still a spamming grunt but has hopes one day to be taking under the proverbial wing of Alf. Hour-after- hour, day-after-day, Alvin sends out annoying and often illegal mail to people throughout the world. He sends commericals for Viagra, commericals for prescription drugs, memberships to porn sites, university diploma scams, and thousands of other fraudulent schemes. Alvin doesn’t care who this spam is going to – he just sends it out. The fact that he’s sending Viagra commericals to a spinster librarian who lives with her mother and a cat or penis enlargement cream to a lesbian, makes no difference. Alvin hears Alf’s immortal words echo in his head – “Don’t worry about who you’re sending it to, just send it!” Alvin smiles as he hits the send button for the umpteenth time in the last hour.

So how do we, the honest, everyday net worker, surfer or researcher, avoid the trappings of Alvin’s horrendous mail? There’s only one way and that is to ignore it. Install a spam filter and when Alvin’s shit comes down the Net pipeline it gets shoved automatically into the spam folder. Alvin will try many different tricks to make us want to open the mail. He’ll write things like; “I have pictures of your wife having sex with your neighbor, click here to see”. Personally I laugh when Alvin writes that little line in his spam. My neighbor is an 85 year-old widow named Kumiko. Alvin will sometimes send pictures – photos of the bottom half a guy with an erection- a kind of before and after shot. Yep, Alvin will never give up, because he’s being encouraged by Alf and Alf is his mentor, his hero and hopefully one day, his partner. Alvin avoids the authorities by using, among other methods, other computers to “piggy-back” off. These computer addresses are also supplied by Alf. And so we, the millions of  law-abiding internet using citizens across the planet, have to endure the likes of Alvin and others, sending us a plethora of pernicious and nefarious email. Death to the spammer.


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