Arsenal News
Arsenal News & Transfers
As featured on NewsNow: Arsenal newsArsenal News 24/7

Arsenal News, Only Arsenal, Blogs, Transfer News

Archives

August 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Have Chelsea misappropriated your email address? Watch out guys…

By Tony Attwood

Chelsea have just emailed me as if I were a subscriber to their newsletter.  I wonder how they got my details.

Since you are reading Untold there is a chance that you might know that I’m a regular contributor to, and the editor of, this web site.  If you’ve paid attention you might know that I go by the name “Tony” (not Anthony although that is my formal name through which I am known on the Companies House register of directors, on my birth certificate, and in my dealings with those awfully nice people at Revenue and Customs.)

You might also know that I am an Arsenal season ticket holder, I’m chair of the Arsenal History Society, I write the daily Arsenal History Blog and I work with Andrew Kelly and Mark Andrews in writing a column in the Arsenal match day magazine (previously known as “the programme”).

So, to summarise, it is Tony, and I’m an Arsenal supporter.

Right.

So imagine my surprise when I got an email from Chelsea FC.  An email which opens…

Dear Anthony,

The new season starts this weekend! However it looks like you haven’t opened an email from us in a while, so we wanted to check if you were happy to continue to hear from us.

Now this is interesting in that the senders have got hold of my email address (which is readily available on the internet) and my formal first name, which is not part of my email address, and which can only be found on formal documentation such as the Companies House register of company directors.

Now I know that Companies House don’t sell email addresses, although the list of directors’ names and home postal addresses is a matter of public record.  I won’t bore you with why, but it is an important point in the whole notion of limited liability companies that the directors’ details are available for anyone to see.

So it looks like Chelsea (or an agency they have employed) has gone fishing.  What they have done is probably not illegal in any way, but it is interesting.  Certainly they have used at least two sources of information and put them together.  I wonder how.

And where it becomes even more interesting is with the content of the email.  They are suggesting that they have been sending me emails for a while, but I haven’t opened them.  (This of course is not true – I would have written this article the moment I received one – as indeed I have done today).

The email goes on for a while and then invites me to take action in one of a variety of ways.  Now normally I am very suspicious of such emails that ask me to click on a link so I looked carefully at its source – and it appears to come from Chelseafc.com  I took the risk and clicked through, and the links on the site most certainly do lead to Chelsea’s official site.

So what’s going on?

Aside from running Untold I write a daily column on direct advertising, in the course of which I record trends in email advertising.  One of the common approaches noted at the moment as being used by the slightly less straight companies is to write to people as if the firm writing had had dealings with the recipient, when in fact they have not.  I wondered, is that what they were doing here?

But I can’t believe that Chelsea themselves have tried such a low-down trick.  So I suspect somehow someone has managed to slip a false set of records into the Chelsea database.

That should not happen, and if it happened then it suggests Chelsea’s security is very lax.  We know that the club allowed Ashley Cole to enter the training ground with an air rifle, and that suggests a certain level of laxness.  This is less dangerous physically, but much more dangerous to the club.

Of course data being used is not that unusual.  My company licenses the use of databases as part of its regular business activity, and all of those databases are traced constantly to see when they are used.  About four or five times a year a firm either uses one of our databases outside the licence period, or without having purchased a license to use it from us.  It happens.   They normally deny it, we show a little bit of the evidence, and eventually they give in and pay us for use of our copyright material.  Just occasionally we go to court.  Then they pay.

Now I writing all this when I discovered that another director of my company, also very much not a Chelsea fan, has had the same email.  Curiouser and curiouser.

So my guess is, something seriously amiss is happening to Chelseafc.com’s databases – most likely through an outside agency hacking into the database and covering its tracks by adding false data to the original while it steals the data that was there.  That is a supposition of course, but it is a good way of hiding the process.  The recipient of the affair (Chelsea in this case) spend so much time trying to remove the added people, they fail to notice all the data they originally held has been nicked).

If it is not that then the suggestion must be that Chelsea are up to no good (there are rules about this sort of thing – ask the Information Commissioners’ Office).  But I really don’t think this can be so, because there’s no obvious benefit to Chelsea, and a lot of dangers.

So bit of a mystery.  Anyway, here’s the full text of their email to me…  (The links were all live when I received the email – I’ve disabled them here).

————————-

Dear Anthony,

The new season starts this weekend! However it looks like you haven’t opened an email from us in a while, so we wanted to check if you were happy to continue to hear from us.

We think it’s important to keep fans up to date with the widest range of Chelsea news and offers, but we know how personal your inbox is and we want to do our best to ensure the emails we send you are of interest to you.

Please select one option below which best reflects your opinion on the emails you currently receive from Chelsea FC:

I look forward to receiving emails from Chelsea FC
I am happy with the Chelsea FC emails I receive
I think I receive too many emails from Chelsea FC/ I would like fewer emails
I find that some emails I receive from Chelsea FC are not relevant to me
I no longer want to hear from Chelsea FC

Thank you for your feedback, your opinions are important to us,

Chelsea FC
Customer Relationship Management

———————–

Arsenal Anniversaries: 15 August

The books…

18 comments to Have Chelsea misappropriated your email address? Watch out guys…

  • Anon

    Wow really. A regular internet user has recived an unwanted email. I get 15 a day, most know my name and my profession. I can understand this being worth sharing if you haven’t had access to a computer on line in the last 10 years but for the rest of us this is unremarkable nonsense and the fact that it concerns a rival football team a mere conincidence

  • David R

    Seriously? You’ve written a whole article, with implied criticism of CFC, because you received some spam?

  • OK so I haven’t made this clear. Spam email can have a number of purposes such as taking over the computer for a botnet, phishing, gathering addresses, selling non-existent or fake goods, etc. But this email doesn’t seem to do any of that, and does take one back to the actual Chelsea site.

    This is outside of the norm of spam / botnet / phishing activity.

  • James

    …or someone who knows you signed you up to it! 🙂

  • BlindJak

    As a Chelsea season ticket holder who is more than happy to receive regular emails from the club I want to point out that I did not receive the email you mention, nor have any other of the ST’s and members I know.

    This suggests some kind of fishing scam or marketing scam to confirm your details and email address then sell them on as some kind of verified list.

    “I looked carefully at its source – and it appears to come from Chelseafc.com” you really should be able to do better than “it appears” before you start casing aspersions. And linking the Cole/air rifle affair to lax internet security is spurious and disingenuous in the extreme and only makes “it appear” as if you’ve dreamed up some kind of hatchet piece.

  • Max

    Do you think that its a possibility that someone (with obviously nothing better to do with their time) decided to sign you up for a laugh?

  • Roland

    Hi Tony!!!

    I got the same mail yesterday. It is quite shocking.

  • Dodo

    I AM a Chelsea fan and also received this email – even though I never get the newsletter. I was scratching my head why they would have emailed me, particularly the ‘not opening any emails’ from them bit – so while I would say Tony the Arsenal supporter, that you are being a little paranoid about Companies House etc, there does seem something odd about this.

  • EightYearItch

    No possibility a mate (or enemy) of yours subscribed you as a wind-up? In any case, you Gooners are really struggling for stories these days. You need a trophy or a shag.

  • James, and others who have suggested it is a wind up from someone to two of us, see the other comments above.

  • Rufusstan

    Personally, that would make me very twitchy. I could see the Chelsea database being hacked and data added. Better some fan of ‘Anotherclub’ ™ could have added them to their database.

    Having read further comments since I wrote the first part (and thought about it a bit), I would really worry. If I was a bastard, I would set up a situation where if I hijacked someone you know’s E mail, I could send one to you using your name (from their contact list details). Its easy to spoof the incoming address as from Chelsea.

    If you click the link, it would connect you to a site of their choice that either changes your proxy settings (or DNS) to one of their choice. THEN redirect you to the Chelsea website. — It would need to exploit a vulnerability (OS/browser) to do this, but they are there.

    There is no immediate issue, but from that point you are browsing using their DNS settings or through their proxy. Everything would be fine unless you go to a site on their watchlist (your bank?) where you get redirected to their phishing version.

    Not saying that happened, but the though of it is why I automatically delete anything I cannot account for in my Inbox.

  • fabregas

    May be they want you to join Chelsea. Even though i dont see that happening even if u are under gun point. So my question for you is this, under what circumstance will renounce arsenal? Please Tony, i need ur answer

  • Dodo

    As a follow on – I’ve just had a very similar email from Premier Inn. Checking I still exist because of something to do with Yahoo recycling addresses apparently?

    Bizarre….

  • Fabregas, it is something we have debated before. It’s tough because my grandfather was there in 1919 and my father in the 1930s, so to break the tradition in the third generation is tough in itself. But I suppose if Arsenal had a neo-fascist board of directors, that would make me turn away, at least until they were overthrown.

    I was fairly fed up during the Rioch year, not because of the results but because of the way we played but that came nowhere near the sort of statements made here, such as “I’ll throw my season ticket in the bin”.

    There are moral issues within a club – such as standing by Tony Adams, which I was totally in favour of – and I guess a decision like that might do it. But it would be tough. I would feel I would have to apologise to my father and grandfather (both deceased).

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Click with care Tony ,lest something untold befall you !I need UA as much as need my caffine every morning !
    Like most I get e-mails from rich widows in Africa ,wanting me to help them get their husbands’ monies out of the country !
    And many penis enlargement offers – wonder how they know these things / Better quiz the wife !
    And here is a sign language mix up joke !

    A construction worker on the third floor of a building needs a handsaw. He sees one of the laborers on the first floor and yells down to him, but the man indicates that he can’t hear. So, the guy on the third floor tries to use signs. He points to his eye, meaning, “I”, then at his knee, meaning, “need”, then he moves his hand back and forth, meaning, “handsaw”.
    The man on the first floor nods, then drops his pants and begins to masturbate.
    The man on the third floor freaks out and runs down to the first floor yelling, ”What the hell is wrong with you!?! Are you stupid or something? I was saying that I needed a handsaw!”
    The laborer looks at the carpenter and says, ”I knew that. I was just trying to tell you that I was coming.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Before spam and junk mail there was….

    Selling Bibles
    (If this doesn’t make you laugh, just go ahead and close your casket!)

    A pastor concluded that his church was getting into very serious financial troubles. While checking the church storeroom, he discovered several cartons of new bibles that had never been opened and distributed.

    So at his Sunday sermon, he asked for three volunteers from the congregation who would be willing to sell the bibles door-to-door for $10 each to raise the desperately needed money for the church.

    Jack, Paul and Louie all raised their hands to volunteer for the task.

    The minister knew that Jack and Paul earned their living as salesmen and were likely capable of selling some bibles.
    But he had serious doubts about Louie who was a local farmer, who had always kept to himself because he was
    embarrassed by his speech impediment.

    Poor Louie stuttered badly. But, NOT WANTING TO discourage Louie, the minister decided to let him try anyway.

    He sent the three of them away with the back seat of their cars stacked with bibles. He asked them to meet with him and report the results of their door-to-door selling efforts the following Sunday.

    Anxious to find out how successful they were, the minister immediately asked Jack, ‘Well, Jack, how did you make out selling our bibles last week?’

    Proudly handing the reverend an envelope, Jack replied, ‘Using my sales prowess, I was able to sell 20 bibles, and here’s the $200 I collected on behalf of the church.’

    ‘Fine job, Jack!’ The minister said, vigorously shaking his hand… ‘You are indeed a fine salesman and the Church is indebted to you.’

    Turning to Paul, ‘And Paul, how many bibles did you sell for the Church last week?’

    Paul, smiling and sticking out his chest, confidently replied, ‘I am a professional salesman. I sold 28 bibles on behalf of the church, and here’s $280 I collected.’

    The minister responded, ‘That’s absolutely splendid, Paul. You are truly a professional salesman and the church is indebted to you.’

    Apprehensively, the minister turned to Louie and said, ‘And Louie, did you manage to sell any bibles last week?’
    Louie silently offered the minister a large envelope.

    The minister opened it and counted the contents. ‘What is this?’ the minister exclaimed. ‘Louie, there’s $3200 in here! Are you suggesting that you sold 320 bibles for the church, door to door, in just one week?’

    Louie just nodded.

    ‘That’s impossible!’ both Jack and Paul said in unison. ‘We are professional salesmen, yet you claim to have sold 10 times as many bibles as we could.’

    ‘Yes, this does seem unlikely,’ the minister agreed. ‘I think you’d better explain how you managed to accomplish this, Louie.’

    Louie shrugged… ‘I-I-I re-re-really do-do-don’t kn-kn-know f-f-f-for sh-sh-sh-sure,’ he stammered.

    Impatiently, Peter interrupted. ‘For crying out loud, Louie, just tell us what you said to them when they answered the door!’

    ‘A-a-a-all I-I-I s-s-said wa-wa-was,’ Louis replied, ‘W-w-w-w-would y-y-y-you l-l-l-l-l-like t-t-to b-b-b-buy th-th-th-this b-b-b-b-bible f-f-for t-t-ten b-b-b-bucks —o-o-o-or— wo-wo-would yo-you j-j-j-just l-like m-m-me t-t-to st-st-stand h-h-here and r-r-r-r-r-read it t-to y-y-you??’

    Remember when the funniest jokes were the clean ones?

  • Stuart

    Anon,
    If I was you I would be worried. I get about 3-5 per day max