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You Can Protect Yourself From Unwanted Email

 
 
Magic347
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      07-01-2003
Well meaning people are constantly being used unwittingly by the
misuse of email. They, along with unsuspecting server administrators,
are forced to pay the price for the deluge of email designed to sell a
product or to just bring down servers. For example, the FTC, Federal
Trade Commission, has received over 25 million emails complaining about
Madalyn O’Hair’s petition to ban religious programming like “Touched by
an Angle”. Madalyn has been missing and presumed dead for years and
there was never a petition by her or anyone else to ban religious
programming. In addition most, if not all unsolicited email requesting
money contains a false header, the information designed to let you know
who actually sent the email.

There are at least 2 types of Spam or Viruses that may not be
apparent when you receive them. The first are emails like the example
in the first paragraph that request your action, usually to send out
more email. The second is a virus warning about a virus that does not
exist. The one thing they all have in common is the request to send out
email to a certain number of people or to everyone you know. Sending
out email is not like sending out snail mail via the post office. Your
email can be forwarded indefinitely as the numbers can easily
exponentiate as each new person who receives it, sends it to all those
on their mailing list.

So how can a person protect themselves from this type of
misrepresentation? The answer lies in using good judgment in protecting
yourself & your friends by following the 4 basic e-mail rules that
follow. Feel free to pass this on if you'd like, but take the time to
delete any header information at the top when you forward it. Be
responsible. The people you care about are depending on you.

1. Never pass on e-mail that makes a request for you to send it to
everyone you know. It's almost always a hoax or a way to promote a web
site or just plain irresponsible. If you feel you need to send it on,
take the time to search for verification first. Even a legitimate
request for help, is inappropriate as unlike regular mail, email is
usually forwarded and can be propagated forever, long after a need is
met. I have not found one of these request that did not take me to a web
site that tried to get me to sign up or wasn't just a hoax, including
helping to find lost children and granting a dying child a wish.
Legitimate sponsors of these charities use more responsible methods of
advertising.

2. Never buy or respond to an unsolicited e-mail regardless of how
interesting it appears. It's almost always from someone who is trying to
get your money without showing themselves or giving you a way to contact
them. The products are usually worthless and can easily be found via a
search engine. If your in doubt, try replying to it. You'll find the
header is a forgery. Even if it contains a web site URL, it can be
forged, if it has an "@" sign in it. They can even use someone else's
web URL before the "@" sign which will be ignored by their server and
take you to their site. For example http:\www.microsoft.com@something is
not from a Microsoft web site. "something" is a decimal equivalent of
the real URL which you will be taken too. "something" is usually
numbers, but could be letters and numbers mixed. Do you really want to
do business with someone who is dishonest enough to trick you into
thinking their sales literature came from some place it didn't? This
type of sales approach makes you and your friends pay for their
advertisement. Many of them even bounce their Spam off someone else's
server, basically stealing their resources and slowing the server up for
legitimate users. If there is something you want to purchase, use a
search engine to find legitimate sites and support them. Virtually
everyone I do business with on the web has a real person on the reply
end of their requested email.

3. Never leave a friend’s email on a website, no matter how much you
think they might want you too. You'll be putting your friend's email on
a list they may not want to be on. That list could get sold over and
over sending thousands of unwanted Spam to your friend. Copy the web
site URL and send it directly to your friend and let them decide if they
want to register there email. My sister signed me up as someone who was
interested in getting free software and software books. Ever since, I
have been harassed by Spam. It's getting to the point were I will have
to change my email preventing old friends from finding me.

4. Never put all your friends on copy to any email. There are software
programs that can harvest all the emails addresses for Spammers. And
many of the "forward to everyone you know? are sent to help create the
list. Have you received the one were Microsoft will pay you for address?
Did you fall for it? You were tricked. Use BBC or Blind Copy instead.
This will hide their email address from ever one on the list and
everyone they decide to forward it too. When forwarding a joke or other
interesting email, be responsible and delete any email addresses that
are shown at the top of the email text. You might just be helping
someone who can't afford to pay for downloading a lot of unwanted Spam.

It doesn’t take a lot of work to defend yourself and your friends
from unwanted email. Paying attention to and practicing a few simple
rules can make the difference. Never pass, buy, leave or put. Never
pass on e-mail that makes a request for you to do so. Never buy or
respond to an unsolicited e-mail. Never leave a friend’s email on a
website. Never put all your friends on copy. Following these 4 rules
will make your email experience a much better one and might keep you
from having to change your email address because of too much unwanted
email.

Good Luck Magic347

 
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