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Unknown email/Spam tips

Posted by Nancy N on 9/19/02 at 15:53 (095743)

Judy/Wendy/anyone else who's interested:

Just a few pointers about spam--

1. Posting your address on the web is a BAD idea. There are programs that look for the usual (email removed) configuration on the web and pull those addresses to be used in future spam. If you want to post your address, do one of the following:

name @ domain.com (separate the '@' with spaces)

name at domain dot com or name at domain.com

The crucial element is to isolate the '@' symbol or remove it entirely, because 'text@text' is what they're looking for. (Note: The email option on this site does NOT work this way--it's hidden to protect you from this very problem, but you need to use a standard address in order to receive replies from the site)

2. Don't EVER respond to spam. If you respond, the spam in your box will grow exponentially, even if you're writing to a 'remove me' address. Why? Because the 'remove me' addresses are fake! They're used by spammers to verify that they hit a real email address--and once they know you're for real, they know they have a captive audience. Resist the urge to reply!!

3. It doesn't matter where you get your email address or what kind of address it is (.com, .edu, .net, etc). All of them are candidates for spam. Unless your service provider has installed anti-spam filters to remove the stuff before it gets to your box, and unless you're scrupulous with your email address--and perhaps even if you are--you're going to get spam. Granted, some providers (like Hotmail) are bigger targets than others, but even my ultra-spam-protected account misses the stuff sometimes. It's just a fact of life in the current digital world.

4. If your service provider doesn't filter and you're really annoyed by the amount of spam you're getting, there are two things you can do:

a) Report the spam to an anti-spam service like Spamcop.net, which will report the spam to the appropriate authorities (this is tough for you to do on your own because spammers are really good at hiding their real addresses, so unless you're into decoding IP addresses in your email headers, let Spamcop do it for you). Basic Spamcop is free, though they do offer higher levels of service if you pay a small fee, since they do have to cover their costs.

b) Subscribe to a spam filtering service. Spamcop offers one of these, too, which checks the headers on your incoming mail to be sure they're not forged. If they are, they're reported and deleted before they ever get to you. I believe the Spamcop service operates as a forwarding address, so you would have to change your email address in order to have the mail filtered--but then you can have the good stuff forwarded to any address you like. Once you set it up, it's a transparent process.

That's probably more than anyone wanted to know about spam, but since the topic came up, I figured it was worth repeating. Just to be clear, I don't work for Spamcop or have any affiliation with them--I'm just a happy customer and I think they provide a great service.

Re: Unknown email/Spam tips

JudyS on 9/19/02 at 17:27 (095756)

Nen - thank you so much for these great and helpful hints! I thought I had at least some knowledge about dealing with spam but I was wrong. I will say, however, that once when I was ordering something off the 'net, I tried using spaces before and after the @ sign but the ordering system wouldn't allow that. And even having said that - I stopped ordering off the 'net a good long while ago.
Hope you are well these days in your second year (how'd THAT happen already?) of teaching. js

Re: Unknown email/Spam tips

Nancy N on 9/19/02 at 18:20 (095766)

Judy--

You're quite welcome. BTW, putting the spaces around the @ means that you're not entering a valid email address, which is why you couldn't order something online that way. When you enter your email for an order, you're not actually posting it on a page like you would be if you included it in a post here, so that's a different thing.

Yes, this is my second year of teaching, and I have to keep reminding myself that this is only the end of the second full week! I keep thinking I'm running out of time for my 2-month courses, but I actually have 6 weeks left, so no need to panic yet... It's going well--I'm about to start a unit on advertising next week, which I'm really looking forward to :)

Re: Unknown email/Spam tips

George B on 9/29/02 at 19:12 (096477)

Thanks Nancy! Being new to cyberspace, I appreciate the tips since I'm being spammed to death and was wondering if I'd be reading junk mail for the rest of my days. Thanks again!

Re: Unknown email/Spam tips

Nancy N on 9/29/02 at 19:19 (096478)

George--

You're quite welcome. A lot of people (even people who've been on the net for a while) don't really deal with spam enough to understand how it works. It's really quite insidious. There's no guarantee you'll get rid of it completely, but you should be able to cut it down at least a little :)

Re: Unknown email/Spam tips

JudyS on 9/19/02 at 17:27 (095756)

Nen - thank you so much for these great and helpful hints! I thought I had at least some knowledge about dealing with spam but I was wrong. I will say, however, that once when I was ordering something off the 'net, I tried using spaces before and after the @ sign but the ordering system wouldn't allow that. And even having said that - I stopped ordering off the 'net a good long while ago.
Hope you are well these days in your second year (how'd THAT happen already?) of teaching. js

Re: Unknown email/Spam tips

Nancy N on 9/19/02 at 18:20 (095766)

Judy--

You're quite welcome. BTW, putting the spaces around the @ means that you're not entering a valid email address, which is why you couldn't order something online that way. When you enter your email for an order, you're not actually posting it on a page like you would be if you included it in a post here, so that's a different thing.

Yes, this is my second year of teaching, and I have to keep reminding myself that this is only the end of the second full week! I keep thinking I'm running out of time for my 2-month courses, but I actually have 6 weeks left, so no need to panic yet... It's going well--I'm about to start a unit on advertising next week, which I'm really looking forward to :)

Re: Unknown email/Spam tips

George B on 9/29/02 at 19:12 (096477)

Thanks Nancy! Being new to cyberspace, I appreciate the tips since I'm being spammed to death and was wondering if I'd be reading junk mail for the rest of my days. Thanks again!

Re: Unknown email/Spam tips

Nancy N on 9/29/02 at 19:19 (096478)

George--

You're quite welcome. A lot of people (even people who've been on the net for a while) don't really deal with spam enough to understand how it works. It's really quite insidious. There's no guarantee you'll get rid of it completely, but you should be able to cut it down at least a little :)