A bingo card I put together for the Spam Pillory. Each square corresponds to a spam email trope. You win if your daily spam inbox makes a bingo. Epic win if a single email does the job. Feel free to download and post, just let me know and give me credit. A breakdown of the spam tropes follows...
A favorite hipster buzzword, but by no means limited to spam emails. Folks, "natural" is an incredibly subjective term, but often used to refer to something not human-made. Anyway, just because something is natural doesn't automatically make it good for you. Latrotoxin is natural but nobody is racing to inject it into their asses.
"SEXY FOREIGN GIRLS"
Pretty self explanatory, usually an angle for a shady dating service. Aside from stinking of human trafficking, it's best to avoid these.
Another non-spam-exclusive term. In spam, it's often used to artificially ascribe meaning to whatever the spammer is hocking.
"[GROUP] IS [FURIOUS"
Likely a false assertion. The group the spammer claims is furious more likely doesn't give a shit about what the spammer is advertising.
This one usually isn't apparent from a single spam email from a given sender (unless the bot glitches out). It only becomes more apparent when one receives multiple emails from that sender and starts noticing subtle variations in the wording (while the message's structure doesn't change).
A common type of spam; these advertise a wide range of wares, but have one thing in common--a clickable link that's repeated many times in the message when they're all visible on the screen, making the repeats unnecessary.
"THIS [PRODUCT] KILLS [CONDITION]"
A common trope, particularly when advertising a special diet or medicine. The advertiser goes straight to lowest-common-denominator wording, regardless of plausibility. No diet will "kill" diabetes, folks. It would be a revolution if it did.
UNREALISTICALLY EASY SOLUTION
Used to advertise solutions to things like housetraining a pet. Also unlikely to be real. You're not going to housebreak a puppy in five minutes. It ain't happening.
Look up "419 scam" on Wikipedia.
I remember seeing these advertisements when they were pushing free iPods, often only given after jumping through countless hoops taking surveys, participating in sales offers--if they're even offered at all. See "pyramid scheme".
OVERSEXED SALES PITCH
This one came to mind after a Viagra spam email I received boasting that you'll get a raging, unconcealable boner after seeing an attractive woman ("You'll have to adjust your penis in your pants when it gets hard at the sight of a pretty girl!!" - actual text of the spam) It's about as crass as they come.
So, Hillary, here's how you take down Trump. Sit back and wait. He's doing a fine job of it on his own. He doesn't need your help.
"1 WEIRD TRICK"
A phrase commonly used to present some snake oil as an implausibly simple solution. Comes from in-line ads that use the phrase along with some artwork that makes Microsoft clip art look like da Vinci's works.
A giveaway for the origin of the spam (usually).
"...BEFORE IT'S BANNED!"
Related to the conspiracy trope, an advertiser inflates their own sense of relevance by claiming that some industry or another will shut them down, claiming that their "miracle product" will render that industry obsolete.
A form of fearmongering. Trivia: Glutamic acid, Isoleucine, 3-methyl butyraldehyde, ethyl-3-methylbutanoate, hydroxylinalool, alpha-terpineol, 1,8-cineole, methylparaben, E300, pentanal and oxalic acid all sound scary, don't they? News flash: they're natural components of the blueberries you've probably eaten in muffins. Just because you can't pronounce it doesn't mean it's dangerous.
GET RICH QUICK
This one's self-explanatory and about as old as print, so I hope I don't need to explain it.
"...WILL KILL YOU."
A fearmongering tactic used mainly in health food ads. Refers to common foods you don't get at Whole Foods.
LONELY HORNY GIRLS
A tactic for advertising dating sites to lonely horny guys.
This is probably used in an effort to bypass spam filters. Perhaps it works, but when it pops up in the form of substituting O's in place of zeroes in a number, (e.g., $5,OOO, usually in a get-rich-quick spam) It's just bizarre.
Common in dating site spam and others, usually corresponding to the theme of the email. Quick way to make me not take the email seriously. Seriously, how many different types of heart emoji do you need?
IMPLAUSIBLY LOW PRICED ITEMS
The only way you're going to get that 60 inch 4K TV for $25 is through a penny auction site, and with an insane amount of luck. If anyone tells you otherwise, they're bullshitting you.
I bet it isn't that shocking. And I bet they don't let you skip to the part of the video where you actually find that 1 weird ingredient. If it even exists.
A staple of any self-respecting phishing email. Often they'll mimic legit sites like Amazon or Costco, to varying degrees of accuracy. A keen attention to detail is helpful in seeing through these (and avoiding getting ripped off).
Lesson's over, kids, have a safe trip home!