Duh: 30 percent of Americans knowingly open spam

It seems that it's not enough for people to know it's spam. A survey suggests the mere thought that there might be money, sex, or a friend behind it is too much for many to resist.

Wreckless Eating/YouTube Scrennshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

"I know I shouldn't, but I will."

Such a thought has, over many centuries, been the precursor to explosions, amputations, marriages, and most of my previous relationships.

Thankfully, it is an impulse that seems to be shared by so many Americans that tears may shortly come to your eyes in sheer relief.

For I am in possession of research suggesting that many Americans just can't help opening spam e-mails, even though they know they're spam.

In this research, nearly one-third of respondents admitted that, at some time or other, they had opened an e-mail that they knew to have nefarious intentions.

Some 8.8 percent of these people went even further and downloaded the attachment that adorned the e-mail, once it had been opened.

Are people so devoid of the basic membranes of life that they insist on acting against their best interests? Oh, just look at election results and the average Vegas chapel.

Here, though, the motivations divided along gender lines.

Men simply couldn't help but feel attracted to the lure of anything to do with money or sex. Yes, in that order. (Take a look at the embedded video.)

Women, on the other hand -- at least according to this research -- were more moved by the promise of a new socially networked friend. "Hi! It's Alison. Remember me?!!"

You will be stunned into sending yourself spam featuring a naked selfie of Scarlett Johansson when I reveal who sponsored this fine, and no doubt meticulous, research. For it was a company called Halon, which just happens to enjoy a deep involvement in software secured networks.

Still, let she who has never, ever opened an e-mail promising to reveal an undressed Justin Timberlake be the one to cast the first stone-cold sober snort.

Human beings are weak. We do things without thinking, often because we're on the Web and we know that thinking takes too long.

We might miss out on something exciting and how can we live with ourselves if we do?

Oddly, though our critical faculties are permanently impaired, our lust for revenge remains strong.

A full 31.4 percent of these respondents said that they'd take action against someone who sent them spam. Like what? Ask them for Mila's number?

No, almost 9 percent of men said they'd send an angry e-mail, while 7 percent said they'd make a bitter phone call.

Spam comes in so many forms. It could be e-mail, text, or a social media post. Frankly, these days I'm suspicious of messages in a bottle.

There are quite a few ways to detect spam.

Poor spelling and grammar are an indicator -- though they might also be an indicator that you've received a message from your nephew at Yale.

It's also worth looking at the sender's e-mail address and a subject line that might be rather too good to be truly intended for the eyes of the sane.

At heart, though, the reason people open these messages is because they believe in serendipity.

They believe that, one day, their prince will come, their princess will arrive, or their lottery numbers will come up.

At heart, we are dreamers and the unscrupulous often take advantage of that.

That's how divorce lawyers make so much money.

 

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