I found this segment, Why Nigerian Email Scams Work, to catch my attention on this weeks, On the Media. Personally, when I get spam emails asking for money or notifying me that I’ve won a billion of dollars and to email my personal/financial information, I just automatically delete the emails. I’ve never fallen for one of these false spam emails nor do I know someone that has caved into giving the spammer information or money. I found the discussion of why spammers continue to write these emails very fascinating. According to a paper (pdf) by Cormac Herley of Microsoft Research, the email’s overt scaminess helps identify the biggest suckers.
I always thought that no one falls for these stupid and ridiculous spam emails but apparently people throughout the world do fall for them. The spam emailer somehow gets into the readers brain and makes them feel vulnerable and emotional about the message; therefore, getting a reaction out of them. I usually don’t hear much about spam emails in the news but after listening to this segment, it has made me more aware of what the motives of the spam emailer are and how people in society give into them.