Here’s why I REALLY hate spam.
I’ve been getting a lot more spam in the past couple weeks, both in Facebook and Gmail. In Gmail it’s typically going into my spam folder, which is good, but it’s mostly from “me” — not good, since I frequently send messages to myself for portability, and some good stuff (from “me” or not) still gets misfiltered into spam more than I’d like.
Facebook has been similarly wonky, as several of my friends have had their accounts hacked, and I’ve gotten vague massages saying, “Hello!” from people I see every day.
So when I got a Facebook message this morning, it freaked me out, because it was from a “real person” whom I’d never heard of. (I’m using pseudonyms here — nobody actually named Amy or similar is involved.)
Subject: sad news
Not sure if you heard – [Amy] passed away unexpectadly last week. All her friends are in schock and awaiting news of what happened
Obviously, this made my heart stop, but the message was spelled poorly and didn’t give details like location, funeral home, etc. The person sending the message hadn’t updated his status in a year. Classic signs of spam, but who wants to just dismiss something like this?
I was on my iPhone and couldn’t quickly check if I had any friends in common with this guy. I did a mental check: I have two friends named “Amy” or similar. Amy1 has had some longstanding health issues, but she’s local and very involved in an event going on this weekend, so I was sure I’d heard from her recently. Amy2, a college friend living thousands of miles away, actually spells her name “Aimee” so I was unsure if he was referring to her, as you’d expect someone closer might know better.
I sent him back a message. How do you respond to something like this, especially when the Facebook spam I’ve gotten lately has been sent without the sender knowing? “Hi there. You don’t know me at all, but I’m worried about my friend WHO MIGHT NOT EVEN EXIST BECAUSE THIS COULD BE SPAM but if it isn’t spam, please, please tell me what happened and thank you for letting me know even though you have no idea who I am.”
And, sadly, the latter was true. He was a work colleague who took it upon himself to let Aimee’s friends know; she lived alone and was fairly private. (No word yet on the circumstances; she’d recently had some medical issues, but ones that most would consider unrelated or minor.) Thanks, then, to this guy; I’m sorry I thought you were spam.
So f*ck you, spammers, for messing with the kind of message I never want to receive but would hate to have missed. I’d tell you to “die in a fire” or some other horrible death, but as I think of the sad passing of my friend I can’t wish that fate on anyone.