The Equalizer

Putting the Consumer First in the Internet Age. Join Us!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

What to do with Spam

What to do with Spam? Spam emails are unsolicited bulk emails sent out by people who either doing it for entirely malicious purposes, or because they think they are using legitimate Internet marketing methods and don’t know any better.

Email addresses used to send spam to are obtained by various means; these include, but are not restricted to, the following: using software which crawls websites and harvests email addresses when it comes across them; purchase of bulk email addresses from unscrupulous vendors, usually several million of them, usually on a CD, and usually for around $30; People who will sell your or pass on your email address to third parties without your consent when you sign up for something; manufacture of emails by prefixing an assumed addressee to an existing domain name, i.e admin @, info @, or accounts @

Spam is usually designed to get money for the sender - get rich quick scams, chain letters, "phishing" requests which ask you to log in to a false account which is a way of getting your account details, bogus requests for money and the usual viagra and enhancement offers which give regular affiliate marketers a bad name. But occasionally its purpose may be more sinister (to spread a virus, propagate pornography without any care for the recipient’s sensibilities or age, or even seemingly pointless emails where nothing makes any sense).

There is quite a lot of advice out there about what to do with Spam. Whatever the nature of the spam, in some form it will probably be with us forever. But there are ways of dealing with it. You can apply filters in your regular email software such as Microsoft Outlook Express to stop it from reaching your inbox by defining types of message you do not want to receive. You can subscribe to services which clean your email before it even reaches you. Or you can buy special software which will, on installation, sit on top of your regular software and use its own features to repel spam. You can even get software (some free, some not) that will encrypt your email address on a webpage, so that a human can see the address normally but it cannot be harvested by a robot.

But some spam will inevitably get through, no matter how well protected you are. So what to do with Spam when it does?

The first rule is, don’t reply to it. If there is a Unsubscribe link don’t click on it, as it’ll only confirm that your email address is valid (think about it: you didn’t subscribe to any such list in the first place, so why should you trust their Unsubscribe link?)

The second rule of what to do with spam is that you can report it to any of the various Spam watchdogs. SpamCop is probably the most useful of the Spam watchdogs, as it fulfils a multiple function. It adds the spammer to the database and it also reports the spam sender to the sender’s ISP, who will then, if they are acting responsibly, contact the spammer with a request to stop it.

But in order to report spam properly there are certain things you must find out. Crucially, you must get the "header" information from the email, which identifies the sender. You do this by doing the following (this is for Microsoft Outlook Express):

Right click on the email as it sits in your inbox.
On the menu that pops up move the mouse cursor right down to the bottom and then left click on Properties.
On the window that opens click on the Details tab.
Near the bottom of that tab click on Message Source…
Position your cursor point within the text of the box that appears and copy the entire contents by pressing the CTRL+A key combination to select the entire contents and then CTRL+C key combination to copy onto the clipboard.

You can now paste this information to a file and save it for sending to the above mention Spam authorities.

If you do not use Outlook Express then you should follow the instruction that come with your email client of choice; it will be a similar procedure.

There is one final thing about what to do with spam: delete the rubbish from your Inbox, then delete the rubbish from your Deleted Items box.

Did you find this useful? If so, why not share it with others?

Digg it
Yahoo MyWeb

RSS Buttons from Marketing Blog



Post a Comment

<< Home