'secret crush' spam
I've been getting a lot of spam email about someone allegedly having a "secret crush" on me. Of course, being happily married I'd ignore these messages even if I didn't know they're a scam. Since I ignore them, they've followed the usual pattern: A follow-up email will offer a hint if I visit the site; another will warn me it's the "last chance" to discover who my so-called "secret crush" is. This morning, though, they upped the ante: The email informed me that I have a "workplace crush." (Little do they know that "don't get involved with co-workers has long been one of my cardinal rules; besides, like I said, I'm taken!) However, the URL in the email simply pointed to the same site--one of many--that ostensibly exists to link up people with crushes on each other.
I've had some prior experience with this scam. Like all spam, this is bogus, but it's a little more insidious than most. If you go to the site, you register (providing an email address, naturally), you're asked to list the email addresses of the person you think *might* be your secret crush. (Note that if it's someone with which you've never corresponded, you're out of luck.) Each of those people gets a message that someone has a crush on him or her, and so on and so on. While the site will eventually notify you if email addresses ever match up--and will offer hints in return for even more email addresses--more often than not the match is a result of two people having guessed the other, without any actual interest in play. Crush sites that work this way are more likely to inspire embarrassment than romance.
Meanwhile, the site harvests an expanding pool of email addresses, which promptly receive a flood of additional spam.
Here's a little unsolicited advice for the lovelorn: If you really have a secret crush, get yourself a new Web-based email account--they're free, after all, and disposable--and email the person yourself. Be sufficiently discreet, and if the answer's no, there's no face lost. These so-called "secret crush" sites, though, are nothing but trouble.
Here's a related article.