It’s not often that SPAM gets through the filtering applied by Gmail. In fact it’s so infrequent that I’ve forgotten what it looks like. It used to be the case, on my old email account that I’d have at least 2 or 3 spam emails each day. In those days my trained eyes would spot the Spam through the tell-tail signs and wearily move it to the Spam folder. It was an automatic process – one that I did mindlessly. My brain would tell me, “Oh that’s Spam,” and I would remove it.
Today I received Spam for the first time in ages and it surprised me. For the briefest moment I thought it was real. That’s not because it looks real. The grammar and capitalisation is terrible and there’s a key spelling mistake that gave it away at the end (and made me laugh out loud I should add):
your attention is highly needed to update your account, due to error code5199AA. failure to comply to this instruction will result to account termination click here
Now, you’d have to be extremely naive not to realise that was Spam, but it’s been so long since I’d received Spam that I feel my guards are down. There really are people out there trying to get you and it’s important to read each email from an unknown person with filter applied – do you really want to click here? Can you be absolutely sure that link isn’t going to take you somewhere horrible? (I have taken the hyperlink out of this post just to make sure nobody clicks it).
It made me realise too that in all my recent efforts to get students aware of the dangers inherent in online identity and social media – those friends who aren’t really friends – not keeping too much of your private self in a public space, and all that – I’m not sure if I haven’t forgotten the whole Spam issue. And if the email systems that we use in schools are so perfect and filtered that students never see Spam am I really helping them?