Sending YOUR E-mail Address To Junk Mailers...
Are you guilty of making it easier
for SPAMMERS to send their junk to you - as well as to everyone you correspond
with by e-mail? You are if you don't take some simple precautions.
When you receive a great joke, cartoon, inspiring story or other goody
that you want to share with your friends and family, do you just hit Forward
and send it to an entire group in your address book? That's the easiest
way, but it means you're sharing more than just the content of the message.
You're also sharing the names and
e-mail addresses of your friends, family and business associates with potentially
hundreds of people you don't know! If the message was forwarded
to you the same way, you're passing along other people's lists as well.
The odds are pretty good that somewhere along the line, at least one person
who receives this message will consider it a real gold mine! Not
for the content of the message, but for the huge list of e-mail addresses
they can use to (1) send out their own Spam or (2) sell to a company that
harvests valid e-mail addresses for other Spammers.
How can you prevent this? Use
the BCC option when you send. If you have a Group set up in your
address book, you simply click on the Group Name ie: "Friends & Family",
then instead of clicking "To", Click "BCC" This means "blind carbon
copy" and it hides the list of recipients. Your copy in the Sent
folder will show the full list of names, but no one who receives your message
will see them.
If you want to put something in the
TO field of your message to show it went to everyone in your group, put
a new card in your address book. In the display name, put
something like My List, use your own e-mail address or use YC2.NET's "Spam
Sink" address firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer not to send a copy to yourself.
(A Spam Sink address is one that simply vaporizes the mail that goes to
it. Mail sent there does not go to any e-mail box and is not saved
on the server)
It takes a bit more effort, but instead
of simply FORWARDING the things you want to share, take time to copy and
paste the content into a new message before sending it to your group.
Not only does it make it much easier to read, but it eliminates all those
other recipients' names from your message as well.
Will Send You a Check" We've all received at least one of these,
haven't we? They usually come from a friend of a friend whose cousin
has a friend whose aunt "works at Intel", or is a "corporate attorney who
knows the law" The latest one we received had been forwarded
approximately a dozen times and had over two hundred e-mail addresses in
plain sight! If anyone is making any money from this ridiculous ploy,
it's the guy who takes all those names and submits them to a Mailing List
Our advice? Hit the reply button
and send it back to the person who forwarded it to you. Ahead of
their message, type "Read this" and add a link to this page.
can do to reduce your chances of being "spammed":
When you sign up to be part of a group
list that receives regular e-mail ie: a newsletter, a "Joke of the
Day", the latest information about some subject that interests you, updates
to a website, etc.
Check to see what the list
administator does to protect members from having their addresses harvested.
Ask if the list is anonymous before you sign up. Don't give
When you must "register" to look at
some portion of a web site, or to play a game, download free software or
purchase something online. Most reputable On line retailers, news
However, that may not prevent them from providing it to other advertisers.
Remember seeing the little "option boxes" that ask you what kind of information
you want to receive? Or the one that's pre-checked "yes" for you
to receive "E-mail offers of products that may interest you"?
If you MUST provide your
e-mail address to receive information or products you do want, be sure
you are aware of all the pitfalls and avoid as many as you can by opting
out of all the "extras".
If you post to Newsgroups or online
message boards, your e-mail address is available to anyone else who reads
the site. Unless you use a special e-mail address or you format your
address to make it harder for the programs various people use to scoop
up e-mail addresses, you're sure to start receiving junk mail.
Some message boards allow you to remain anonymous. You may
be required to provide your real e-mail address, but that information is
not made available to anyone except the board administrator.
If the e-mail address is a "required"
field, but you do not have to receive mail from the site to obtain the
information you want, you may use YC2.NET's "spam sink" address email@example.com
This is a legitimate address and will be recognized as one by any authentication
program a site may use, but all mail that goes to this address is "vaporized",
not saved or reviewed, just GONE.
Posting to Newsgroups or UseNet is actually
a subject unto itself. If you are involved in this activity, here's
to information about how to protect your privacy when posting there.
If you have anti-virus software and subscribe to a
service that warns you about new viruses and tells you about upgrading
your software to screen for it, consider them your most reliable source.
While those who e-mail "Virus Warnings"
to you may do so with the best intentions, chances are, they've been fooled
by a hoax.
ALWAYS check it out for yourself.
One way to do this is to visit V-Myths
This site lists the latest virus hoaxes and has a lot of other good information
Do NOT "forward to everyone in your
address book" as per the instructions contained in these usually bogus
messages. That's exactly what the hoaxer wants you to do - aggravate
and/or worry as many people as possible.
And NEVER follow instructions about
removing files from your computer unless you get them directly from a technician
or from your anti-virus software provider. Doing so may impair the
functioning of your computer.