SOURCE: ZapFraud


October 22, 2015 15:20 ET

Fraud Fools Spam Filters Most of the Time

Don't Be Fooled by What's Waiting for You in Your Inbox

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - October 22, 2015) - Spam filters are the most common -- and accepted -- protection against fraud emails, yet they block only between 10 and 70 percent of fraud1. This is something like a trapeze artist using a helmet instead of a net. Yes, the helmet could possibly help some of the time… but it's not suited to the risk or the art.

Detecting and blocking fraud email is critical, because fraud email can be a gateway to more vicious forms of crime and mass security threats, as examined in Think Data Breaches Don't Affect You? Think again.

Spam Filters Aren't Designed to Detect & Block Fraud

Understanding how spam filters are designed to work reveals why they are so ill suited to detecting and blocking fraud, and why they fail much of the time.

Spam filters look for extremely high volumes of identical traffic with low response rates, the telltale signs of spam. Fraud email, which is low-volume, customized, and commands high response rates, easily evades detection.

Spam filters look for commercial keywords (think "viagra"). Fraud is highly targeted and customized without the need to include such words, thus blocking fails again.

Spam filters use reputation to score and block senders based on how often their emails are read, responded to, or if they've been reported as spam. When a fraudster's reputation suffers and he experiences blocking, he simply creates a new email account, with a fresh reputation that enables him to get right back into the game.

Spam filters create a so-called whitelist (a list of good senders) for each recipient. Senders of emails to which you respond are typically placed on the whitelist and their reputation improves, allowing them to send large amounts of email to you and others without fear of being blocked.

With customized, highly targeted ploys to stir emotions and evoke response, fraudsters by design make the white list. As illustrated in Fraud Has Evolved; Human Nature, Not So Much, fraud is more convincing than spam, thus people respond to it -- another reason why spam filters cannot reliably detect and block fraud.

Fraud is a growing, well-managed crime that pays off better than ever, and it will continue to thrive, until we embrace tools that automate reporting, detection and prevention. Until then -- if you find yourself having to rely on a simple spam filter when what you really need is a robust Fraud Firewall, try these tips to protect yourself from fraud that is evading spam filters and lying in wait for you in your email inbox.

Stay Safe -- You Need to be Smarter than a Spam Filter

1. For every email you get:

  • Ask yourself: Is this too good to be true? Or too bad to be true?
  • Try to respond to the opportunity or emergency an email suggests by using other means, like a phone call.
  • Think before acting -- especially if an email suggests that there is urgency.
  • If it is a suspicious email, send it to, and you will receive an automated response telling you whether it is a known scam or not.

2. Read about common scams and how to stay safe at resources like "Stop Think Connect" ( #CyberAware

3. Even if you think you can detect scams, your loved ones may not be as saavy. Take a moment to help the people you care about protect themselves.

Throughout National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) #CyberAware, ZapFraud is reporting on fraud and fraudsters and what we can do now to stop them. Watch for ZapFraud news and posts and learn more about fraud and cyber security by following ZapFraud on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

About ZapFraud

ZapFraud is the leading provider of proactive email and online fraud protection services for consumers, as well as threat-detection services for enterprises. ZapFraud's patent-pending Fraud Firewall™ protection service helps provide peace of mind for consumers as they face the increasing and ever-changing threat of email, social media and online phishing scammers who attempt to steal intellectual property, identity, online credentials and, ultimately, their hard-earned money. More information about the company can be found at

1 How Vulnerable Are We to Scam,

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