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Spam

Understanding Spam

While LTIS has several screening methods in place, it is difficult to keep ahead of the spammers. Letting them know about suspected SPAM email will help. LTIS does not allow email that is not addressed to you. Sometimes it looks like it is not your address, the sender can mask this by sending a Blind Carbon Copy. LTIS also will not allow mail from sites that are known offenders. This sometimes causes problems for our customers to get email that they really want, but until more effective ways are available LTIS will continue to screen this way.

You can also take action in your own mailbox by screening for SPAM. Your email client (ie. Outlook Express) can be programmed to filter out SPAM. You can set your filter to block messages that contain a subject line that contains all CAPS, $ signs, # signs, ! signs, and words like "X-priority", "unsubscribe", "adv", "bulk mail", authenticated sender" or "make money fast". You can also put names of senders into a block mode, but you will probably never receive mail from the same party again. Some free email clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Earthlink have programs included that block SPAM. Unfortunately they may also block email that you really want.

Important tips so that you do not make the problem worse.

1) Never buy anything from a spam offer. That would only encourage them, as well as make you an easy mark for much more spam in the future. If no one ever bought anything from a spam offer, the problem would go away on its own. More importantly, reputable companies rarely send out unsolicited mail, so the vast majority of the spam you get is from unscrupulous individuals that aim to take advantage of you.

2) Never reply in any way. Don’t reply to be taken off their list, and don’t go to any links that they provide for you to supposedly unsubscribe. If you do, you are actually telling them that your email address is an active one. The only exception is if you know and trust the organization, and are confident that they are a reputable company that will honor your request to be removed from their list.

3) If you enter a lot of contests, or register for coupons or gifts, you may be registering for more spam. You should check the reputation of any company that you give personal information to, even if it is just your email address. Also, read their privacy policies carefully. Look for those hidden check boxes that say you agree to receive email from their partners. They are usually pre-checked, and they are hard to find for a reason. In general, the more things you sign up for on-line, the more spam you will get over time.

4) If you list your email address in places such as Web based discussion groups, message boards, or Usenet Newsgroups, you will get more spam. Similarly, if your email address is listed as a point of contact on a Web page or elsewhere on the Internet, that will increase your spam. Spammers have programs that "harvest," email addresses from Web Pages, Newsgroups, and other public areas on the Internet.

5) Consider keeping your main email address as private and "unlisted" as possible, and get a second mailbox for your public email presence. Give your private address to friends only. You would use your public address for registering

with Web sites, or for posting on Newsgroups and message boards. You can check your public account a few times a month to make sure there is nothing in there that you really need. You will be surprised at the amount of spam that starts to pile up in there, and will be thankful that it is not filling up your main mailbox. If the amount of spam to your public address gets to be too much, you can change the login name to something else.

6) Consider using disposable email addresses. Several companies offer email addresses that you can use specifically for fighting spam. One benefit of a disposable address over a second public email address is that the disposable address is configures to forward to your normal email account. This way you only have to check email in one place. This is particularly helpful if there is email from that source that you do want to receive, such as a newsletter or email list. You should use a different disposable address every time you register for something that requires your email address, or on every message board or Newsgroup on which you post. If you start getting spam delivered to one of your disposable addresses, you can easily turn off that specific address (along with any spam sent to that address). Not only that, you will be able to see from what source the spammer got your address. Two organizations that provide up to 500 disposable addresses for a small fee are SpamCon (http://www.spamcon.org/services/dea/) and SpamEx (http://www.spamex.com). SpamCon also provides up to three disposable addresses for free.

 

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