How to "Can" Unwanted Spam!

3/7/2006

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It has probably become a routine. Each time you check your e-mail, you are greeted with unwanted, unwelcome messages from unknown individuals or companies. Many pitch products that you have no interest in; others make fraudulent attempts to collect your personal financial information; and some harbor viruses that will harm your computer files. You spend minutes a day "deleting."

The Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission offer tips to reduce the amount of spam that you receive. To help free your In-Box of clutter:

  • Do not display your e-mail address in public. Spammers use newsgroup postings, chat rooms, Web sites and online service membership directories to “harvest” addresses.

  • Use two e-mail addresses. You might consider using one address for personal messages and one for newsgroups and chat rooms.

  • Always check privacy policies. When you submit your e-mail address to a Web site, check the privacy policy to see if it allows the company to sell your address. If so, you may want to opt out, or choose not to submit it.

  • Use a unique e-mail address. If you use a common name in your e-mail address, like jdoe, that may affect the amount of spam you receive. Using a more unique name, like jd51x02oe, will foil spammers’ attempts to target common name combinations.

  • Use an e-mail filter. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may provide a tool to filter out potential spam or a way to channel spam into a bulk e-mail folder.

Meanwhile, when you do receive e-mails promoting credit repair, advance fee loans, deeply discounted software products, sweepstakes "winnings," miracle medical products and other "too good to be true" offers, forward them to the FTC. Send a copy of unwanted or deceptive messages to spam@uce.gov. The FTC uses the unsolicited e-mails stored in this database to pursue law enforcement actions against people who send deceptive spam e-mail.

Also, send a copy of the spam to your ISP’s abuse desk. That lets the ISP know about the spam problems on their system and helps them to stop it in the future. Include a copy of the spam, along with the full e-mail header. You may also want to complain to the sender’s ISP.

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