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SPAM . . .not just meat in a can.

angry.personIt’s also an annoying issue plaguing anyone with an email address.

In the Internet age, not only are you fighting junk mail in your mailbox, but you have also got exorbitant amounts of spam in your email inbox.  In addition to being annoying, these e-mails can introduce viruses and spyware into your computer.  While there are several different ways to combat spam, here is a look at some of the best ways to do this.

 *Look for warning signs.  There are three simple ways to try to tell if an e-mail program is spam.

  • Look at the “person’s” name.  When looking at your mail, look closely at the person or robot’s “name”.  Most spam is named with a first name and a last name (examples: Morgan Freeman, Taylor McJessie).  Do you recognize the name?  If not, it is probably spam.  Remember that most message users use nicknames.
  • Look at the time that the e-mail was sent.  Most spam is sent between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m.
  • Look at the file size.  Almost all spam will be 3 KB.  Most spam will contain a small sentence like “Hey, I’m Victoria, wanna date,” and include a link to a webpage.  At the end of the link, there will be a mix of random letters. Do not click the link.
  • If you have done the above three things and you are still not sure, click on the message.  Clicking on the message will not harm anything, but if there is a link, do not click it.

 *Stop posting your e-mail address on a public forum or website.  It is estimated that 95% of all junk e-mail is caused by a person publicly disclosing his or her e-mail address.  There are many robots and scripts that automatically scan websites for e-mail addresses.  Also, sometimes humans actually grab e-mails off websites to use them for sign-up offers in order to get free stuff (iPods, Ringtones, Televisions, etc.).

  • If you must provide contact information, try writing it out in creative ways such as (me [at] yahoo [dot] com).

 *Consider creating a FREE email with Yahoo!, MSN Hotmail, Google’s GMAIL or another such type, and if you NEED to subscribe to something questionable, use that email address and leave your personal email private.  Gmail has a fairly good spam filter.  Almost all of the spam goes into your spam box where it gets automatically deleted after 30 days, so you never even have to look at it.

 *Use spam blocking tools.  Most web mail providers offer them, or you can download one.

  • Use the “This is spam” button if your e-mail provider has one.  This submits the e-mail to their spam-control people who can take care of business and improve their anti-spam filters.
  • If you are using MS Outlook, try installing a spam filtering plugin, for example SpamAid or SpamReader.
  • Use the Block list and add the spammer’s domain name only.  (However, this may not be that effective, since spammers normally use temporary addresses).
  • Limit incoming e-mails to those in your address book and have all others put into a “Junk” folder, which you can skim through quickly and clear regularly.

 *Bottom line is, be smart, be courteous and be conscientious about how you handle the messages that come in.  If it’s a Forward and you think it’s cute, remember that ALL the people in your address book might not think it is so.


Chris DiamondChristopher Diamond is the driving force behind CDA Tech Pros (http://cdatechpros.com), a full service computer consulting and support firm in the Phoenix area of Arizona.   Christopher honed his skills supporting the IT departments in the entertainment industry in California until he relocated to Mesa, AZ in 2005. 

He now offers the same corporate grade support to businesses in the Valley with a wide range of services including Consulting, Implementation, & Support for Computers, Servers, & Networks, IT Security Assessments & Solutions as well as Website Development.

Designers Circle is a good example of Chris’s technical expertise.

 

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