It’s getting rough out there for Donald Trump: His poll numbers are in free fall with women, he is in fourth place with African-American voters, and even Republicans are getting cold feet about their Presidential nominee. But a survey shows there’s one constituency (outside of the white supremacists he retweets) among whom he has an indomitable lead.
According to security firm Proofpoint, the people who send spam and other types of email rip-offs invoked Trump’s name over his that of his rival, Hillary Clinton, by a huge margin.
The company analyzed tens of thousands of suspicous messages targeted at its corporate clients, and found the senders were 169 times more likely to put “Trump” in the message than “Clinton.”
Proofpoint says most of the messages, which are known as “lures” in industry speak, took the form of “Get rich/smart like Trump” themes or else sought to trick the recipient into clicking on a fake news story. Here’s an example, which spoofs CNN’s logo and style:
Such messages are typically a vehicle to promote junky products, but they can also serve nastier purposes like installing malware or carrying out identity theft. One batch of the “Trump” emails sought to trick users into disclosing their Gmail username and password.
So why do the people who run the scams prefer “Trump” over “Clinton” by such wide margin? According to Patrick Wheeler, director of Threat Intelligence at Proofpoint, it’s about the brand.
“Whether it’s email, social, or mobile apps, cybercriminals like to leverage brands in their lures. Regardless of how one feels about him, Trump has built a brand of being a successful businessman and someone who challenges the establishment, so spammers are using that brand to bait targets into opening emails and clicking on links that lead to scams and worse,” said Wheeler by email.