Charts: Where Is All This Spam Coming From?

Aug 23, 2017
Identity Theft, Current Events, Article

At this point, many of you are probably familiar with the Nigerian prince email scam (from ID Theft Resource Center):

A common example is an email from a representative of a Nigerian prince who needs to transfer $40 million obtained from an oil contract but cannot use an African bank account and therefore needs your assistance. They will want to use your personal bank account, but first, you need to open a Nigerian bank account with at least $100,000 in it to be a qualified foreign recipient of the funds. The prince’s representatives will provide information as to where you will send the money and promise you they will transfer your millions right after. Another example is that you are the winner of a foreign country’s lottery (somehow!) and if you send personal identification information and documents plus a small fee, you will receive your millions of dollars in lottery winnings. Of course, this never happens.

While spam is increasingly hoovered up by various email filters, many still get through and victimize recipients. IBM researchers delved deeper into the behavior pattern of spammers. Here are some of the charts with the questions they answer:

  • What day of the week do spammers hit?

  • What countries does spam originate from? 

Why should we care so much about spam? The short answer: it is an effective delivery mechanism for malware!

From ID Theft Resource Center:

Nowadays, malware is more sophisticated than ever, and its delivery methods are not falling short. Spammers and spam botnets launch millions of malicious messages every day, hoping to get through to potential victims, infect new endpoints, invade another organization and keep rolling the cash laundromat that drives cybercrime. By learning their methods and tracking their activity, defenders can better manage risk and keep their organizations safer from spam.


Activity idea: Have your students print out examples of spam that show up in their spam mailbox [Be sure to tell them not to click on any of the links!!!!!] that they have received via email and evaluate how the bad guys are trying to exploit them. 

Interested in helping your students protect their identities. We have a lesson for that! Check out NGPF's lesson on Scams, Fraud and Identity Theft


About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.