Sir Spam-A-Lot

Spam. A constant problem. I have closed out several email accounts due to the high volume of spam. Sometimes spam comes from registering products (some companies will sell your email address). Also, not-so-trustworthy sites lure in unsuspecting people and then sell your email to other companies so you are spammed that way too.

Often overlooked as a route to spam and email viruses are forwards and group emails. If you have ever received a forward, you notice a huge laundry list of email addressed who were sent similar items. Thus, people have access to a huge resource of email addresses of which to spam or hit with viruses (not that your friends are untrustworthy, but in the grand scheme of forwards and group mailings, you don’t know most of the people who get the message passed on to them).

So what to do? Email programs do offer the BCC field. This field hides all email addresses sent to so people cannot get at your entire address book of contacts. Also, when you receive forwards that you plan to forward on, delete everything except what you thought was so cool. I get sick of forwards where you scroll through huge amounts of email addresses and personal messages until you actually get to the forwarded content. (This works only if your email program is set to forward in body versus as an attachment.)

I would like to think that if people knew what the BCC field was, they would actually take care to use it. I think it is a friendly turn to make sure your family’s and friends’ email addresses stay protected from spammers and viruses. This is one step to do it. So please do. Every little bit helps. Now some email programs (like Yahoo!) won’t let you send an email unless you have one in the “To” field. I use an email account that I check every now and then that is already overloaded with spam. Gmail is excellent because of the huge inbox you get. Thus, no real email is being sent on.

Another way to stop spam is to invest in internet security. I am an avid Firefox user and have WOT installed. It pops up with potentially dangerous sites that can spam you, send you viruses and trojans, so it’s a good feature to have. I have a phishing detector and Norton 360 – all of which help. Be wary of using your email on sites, try to read the fine print. When registering or setting up accounts on other websites, check to see if their privacy policy prohibits them from selling your information to other companies.

Tis better to be safe than sorry.

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