This is the first in a weekly series of articles we will post here on the SpamDrain blog. Every week we will analyse a particular spam message in various ways. This week we will take a look at a particularly stupid pump and dump spam message.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, pump and dump refers to a specific type of stock fraud. Typically the spammer will acquire stock in a small company for a low price and then send out large amounts of spam messages trying to fool the recipients into investing in the company. In the message, the spammer will claim to have inside information about some new development within the company, something which will make the company’s stock go through the roof.
The information is of course nothing but lies. As soon as you and the other victims start to buy the stock and the price goes up the spammer will sell his shares for a profit. The stock price plummets and you will never be able to get back all of your money.
Today I got one of these pump and dump spam that looked really strange. Here’s the actual text of the message:
Don’;t let A=CGU pas+s, Gr;ab it Mon.da+y
A.SSET CAPI+TA,L GP I=NC.
ACG=U Ass.et Cap;it,al Gr;ou.p, In*c. wil=l fo*cus u=pon l+oca-ti=ng
and i-nvesti-n,g in sma.l,l, p*r-o=f-itable e+nte-r=pri=ses w*ith
pr+om+is.ing g,r,owth po.t;en+tia.l. The Co=m.pany i-ntend.s to in=ve.st
in co-mpa=n;ies in a wi.de ra.nge of c+at,e,g*ories, i.n-cl=uding
m;anu-fac.tu*ri*ng-, envi;ronm;e;n=ta-l cl,e*an-u*p, f*in+an.cial se-r.vice,s
and oth+er are=a=s, th+is co;mp-any is go,ing to e+x+plo*de.
ACG+U ACG+U A*CGU A+CGU A+CGU
Get on AC=GU f=irst thi,ng M-onda-y!
A*SSET CA-P;ITAL GP IN-C.
H+URRY ca=ll y*our Br+oke;r Now !!!
Hug.e PR c=ampai.g;n unde.rw+a*y now and its ti;me for you
to get in now and ri,de thi*s wa.ve earl+y to pr-ofi*t.
for the removal of cancer, the recurrent nodules make their appearance in
the main scar or in the scars of stitches in its neighbourhood. In the
lower animals the grafting of cancer only succeeds in animals of the same
species for example, a cancer taken from a mouse will not grow in the
tissues of a rat, but only in a mouse of the same variety as that from
which the graft was taken. While cancer cannot be regarded as either
contagious or infectious, it is important to bear in mind the possibility
While one could argue that anyone not getting suspicious about an e-mail like this one deserves getting ripped off, distorting the text like this is actually a quite common trick use by spammers to try to avoid getting blocked by filters.
The readable text at the end is meant to further confuse spam filters. The spammer usually pastes some text which has no relevance to the rest of the message in an attempt to lower the “spaminess” of the message. This particular text appears to have been copied from “Manual of Surgery
Volume First: General Surgery” by Alexis Thomson and Alexander Miles published in the early 20th century. The book is available online through Project Gutenberg.
Here’s the deciphered version of this message:
Don’t let ACGU pass, Grab it Monday
ASSET CAPITAL GP INC.
ACGU Asset Capital Group, Inc. will focus upon locating
and investing in small, profitable enterprises with
promising growth potential. The Company intends to invest
in companies in a wide range of categories, including
manufacturing, environmental cleanup, financial services
and other areas, this company is going to explode.
ACGU ACGU ACGU ACGU ACGU
Get on ACGU first thing Monday!
ASSET CAPITAL GP INC.
HURRY call your Broker Now !!!
Huge PR campaign underway now and its time for you
to get in now and ride this wave early to profit.
At least this spammer knows how to speak corporate bullshit!
By the way, this spam was no match for SpamDrain. SpamDrain vs. spammers: 1-0.