One of the interesting human-factor issues in email spam is typos and grammar errors. As you may now, they are often badly written/typed on purpose as a gullibility filter: People who aren’t turned off by the obvious mistakes are more likely to fall for the follow-up scam, saving the bad guys time and effort down the road.

But targeted spam efforts – “spear-phishing” – uses a much different approach. They try to fool you into thinking you’re dealing with a legitimate, known source, so typos and grammar errors would be bad, right?

Right – but they sneak in anyway, just as with the rest of us! The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript’s latest update on the $2.3 million scam in the town of Peterborough (read it here) has details about the operation, including this tidbit:

The town does business with the engineering firm of Hoyle, Tanner & Associates. It appeared as though somebody in the firm’s accounting office sent an email to the town, but it was fake, and one clue was that Tanner was misspelled as Tanerr.

Alas, that wasn’t enough of a tipoff. Hey, I’ve made stupider typos in emails!

By the way, Peterborough gets all the attention but many other communities have fallen for similar scams – such as Nashua, as the Union-Leader notes: “Nashua was the victim of a fraudulent scheme earlier this year involving a nearly $41,000 payment that never made its way to the intended vendor.”

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