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Suggestions on How to Stop 'Spam' and Unwanted Junk Email

Suggestions on How to Stop 'Spam' and Unwanted Junk Email

Postby admin » Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:19 am

Additional Suggestions on How to Stop 'Spam' and Unwanted Junk Email

Spam is the common term for that unsolicited junk mail that arrives in your email InBasket. It is often delivered by stealing services from an 'open relay' or 'open proxy', with the origin obscure or forged. And you had to pay for receiving it.

Spam often contains offers for dubious products or 'MLM' opportunities. The claims are usually too good to be true. The offers often cross the line and become scams. Legitimate offers from legitimate businesses do not try to hide their contact information.

Cyberspace has three dimensions; DNS Name Space, IP Address Space, and Bandwidth. As a participant in the World Wide Web you pay for all three; you buy your Cyber Real Estate.

When you receive unsolicited email your Cyber Real Estate is being trespassed upon. You paid for the spammer to litter your InBasket. Spam is reverse cost advertising, where the recipient pays to receive it.

Spam in an inappropriatre "opt-out" model for commercial contact. It does not scale. If 1% of United States businesses sent you one spam per year, you would receive an average of more than 574 spams per day (based on US Census figures) You are going to be spammed if you have an email address. Its an issue of minimizing the quantity and frequency of spam received. And complaining appropriately about the spam you do receive.

There are several answers, and you need to use more than one to be effective.

The more places your email address gets used or posted, the more likely it will be harvested by a spammer and added to their list. The closer your email address is to 'normal' the more likely it will be targeted in a 'dictionary' attack. Avoid forwarding urban legends and other pass this along chain mail. How many addresses could you have harvested from the ones you got from friends this week? How many of those addresses could you have guessed? Get two email addresses, one for social and one for business use. Blind copy your friends when passing on things (pasted into a new letter) to avoid sharing/exposing addresses.

Screen out the junk so you don't have to see it. Don't accept mail sent by confirmed open relay servers. Filtering is most effective at the server level (because it pushes the 'bounce' closer to the source), but it is still effective when implemented closer to your InBasket. Many mail services provide for 'white' and 'black' lists of addresses that you accept and refuse, respectively, mail from. Deleting all mail containing a disclaimer such as

Under Bill S.1618 TITLE III passed by the 105th US Congress this is not considered spam as long as the sender includes contact information and a method of removal.

is appropriate because it is a lie -- the bill was never passed for good reason. Make some rules to put junk into a junk folder (but you still need to glance thru it before throwing it in the trash since no filter rule will be perfect).

Use 'throw away' accounts for public communications or postings. Use anonymizer services that hide your real email address and IP. Don't use your real name, use a 'screen' name. Use encryption. Be paranoid -- the spammers really are out to get you.

But remember this can also give the appearance that you have something to hide. You paid for your cyber real estate and should be able to put your name on the door.

Sending unsolicited email is against the Acceptable Use Policy of most ISPs. Protect your cyberspace and report abuse. Learn how to track down the source of spam or use a reporting service. Don't just hit delete.

Each server that handles a piece of email adds a Received header to the front of the message before passing it on. Using the information in the headers should allow you to trace the spam to its source, and to identify the appropriate abuse contacts to complain to.

You can also complain to the host of the website being spamvertised about the inappropriate marketing being done by their customer. You can complain to the hosts of the supporting email addresses in a similar manner. And you can even make sure that the real owners of any forged or trademarked names are aware of the misuse of their names. Complain to the DNS hosts.

And remember to complain to the authorities. A copy of every spam should go to spam@ftc.gov (with full headers so they can trace it). Since many of the offers in spam stand on or cross the line, there are specialized reporting addresses for various illegal activities. Use them as appropriate. You don't have to put up with littering in cyperspace at your expense.
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