You may already be familiar with SPAM emails that contain just one sentence about weight loss; Oprah and the infamous Acai berries. What is interesting about this current spam storm is that the spammer did not try to bypass any anti-spam filtering technologies. Surely, most products would have filtered such email as spam. Hence, the question to pose is ‘What is the aim of such spam?’

Visiting (do not visit this website) one can notice that there is no Viagra, weight loss pills or berries for sale. Only a very simple and small ‘opt-out’ form with the words “Remove me:”

The innocent victims of spam would be tempted to insert their email addresses to ‘opt-out’ of the spamming list. In reality, this is very similar to a phishing attack. The spammer would be harvesting the email addresses. The benefit to the spammer is that there is a very high probability that the email addresses being harvested are valid.

Innocent looking opt-out form at

It is costly to send SPAM and according to recent studies, the profit spammers make is not as big as it was thought in the past. Hence, it is in the interest of the spammer that the mailing list being used is kept clean of invalid email addresses. As soon as a victim places an email address in the ‘opt-out’ form, the email address is confirmed as a valid address to target spam since there was a manual process of inserting the email address in the form.

Confirmation of ‘removal’ of email address. DO NOT TRY THIS!

The intent of this current trend of SPAM is not to sell or promote a product but more to create and harvest better mailing lists for spamming activities in the near future. In addition to anti-spam products, the best weapon in such cases is the education of end users.

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