It was early in the morning as I walked the perimeter of the mall to avoid the remnants of the tropical storm that rolled through the north east this week. As usual I connected to the free WiFi graciously provided by Simons Mall, but there was one subtle difference. The log in screen had changed requesting my name and email address or cell phone number. Not quite awake I entered my actual email address and connected, completely unaware that I had just unleashed Lovecraftian horrors out of Pandora's Box.
The spam emails began rolling in yesterday afternoon and continued into this morning. I suspect the spam will only grow over the next few weeks making my gmail account completely unusable as an information conduit. It turns out there's a small box that is checked by default just off the bottom of the mobile web WiFi sign up page that says "yes please spam me with bull shit offers for the rest of my life". I never saw the checked box, and I foolishly entered my true email address. Thank you Simons Mall for killing my gmail account.
For comparison I should share that my email address is on public web pages in several locations, and yet I've never received anything resembling the deluge of junk email as I have over the past 24 hours. Black hat advertising is malicious, irrelevant, and disgusting.
Don't make the same mistake I did. Don't ever, EVER enter your email address into any web form unless you absolutely trust the company not to sell off your information for a few cents.
The spam mails have subsided, perhaps Google has identified the bulk of them and kindly forwarded them to /dev/null on my behalf.