I Hate Spam


I Hate Spam
By: Dave Cole

If you're like me, you are being swamped with
so many emails it's pitiful. We get tons of emails
with offers from various companies, all of which are
claiming that we have opted in to these lists.

Couple of things you need to know here.

1. Used to be that if you un-subscribed to some
of these mailings using the link they provide, your
address would then be removed as requested.

Now, I wonder.

Seems like in a majority of cases, while you may
never receive mail from that particular company
again, your mail within a month or so multiplies.

Well what happens is that certain companies take your
name off their list, but add it to a second list
of "verified" addresses. See, in some cases when
you do un-subscribe, you are really telling these
companies that your address is a "good" one.

Then that list of verified addresses gets sold or
traded to another mailing company, and whamo, the
spam emails start coming from someone else.

2. Never un-subscribe from a pornographic email, they
are notorious for trading these verified addresses.
Instead get a good spam filter or talk to your ISP
and see if they have spam filters available.

Our local ISP has such spam filters which have cut down on
the number of porn emails we get considerably, and they
provide this service for only an additional $1 a month.

3. Harvesting of addresses is a business. Never leave your
email address on any site, or guestbook, or newsgroup.
What happens is that special software runs over the Web
searching for addresses, and when it finds one, it adds
that address to a list.

We know of one spammer who runs 24 computers, round
the clock out of his home. All have software that
gleans addresses and at the same time, the software
sends out it's message to the harvested address.

If your address is out there on a Web page or newsgroup,
eventually those computers will find you.

Let's Make A Deal.....

4. Here's another big reason why you're getting so
many emails from places you never heard of. At one
time you probably did opt in to receive a newsletter or offer
from one specific company.

You most likely got their offer, along with a few
others from that company, but sooner or later, the
flood of emails started coming.

You gave that company a verified address complete with
your IP address, date, and time. (this happened behind
the scenes as the host computer "read" your computer
for the info).

So what happens next is that over time a company begins
to get a large list of opt in names. Let's say we
have Company A that has a list of 1 million names.
They approach Company B which also has a different
list of names.

They make a deal. Company A "trades" their million
names to Company B, and vice versa, so both companies
now have a list of 2 million, verified, opt in names.

Go figure how many times your address can be traded over
a relatively short period of time. This is considered
"ethical" business practice by most email companies
and the major reason why they end up with huge lists
of 50 million or more names.

That's the biggest reason you are getting so many
spam email offers from places you never heard of.
Once they find a good address, you'll never get
off these traded lists.

The only way to stop this kind of spam email is to
delete your address and start over with a fresh one.

5. Another way companies get your email address is
that when you visit a site, that site sets a "cookie" on
your hard drive. Some of these cookies are able to then
send information back to the host computer telling that
computer what Web sites you visit, thus what your
interests are.

Your name gets put on a "targeted" list. For example, if
you like pets and visit a lot of pet sites, then the cookie
tells the host computer that you are a pet owner and
your name goes on a targeted pet list.

What You Can Do

1. Never leave your email address on any Web site guestbook,
or in any newsgroup, or posting from such places like
YahooGroups or Topica.

When you order items online, set up a special free email
account specifically for ordering. Most reputable companies
will never release your name, but a few do sell their lists
to other parties.

There are plenty of free email providers out there,
do a search if you don't know where to find them.

2. If you have friends who send out emails to
multiple recipients with all the addresses showing
in the Cc field, ask them to please send using the
Bcc field instead. Using Bcc (blind carbon copy)
hides your address from other recipients.

We get a lot of messages from people we never
heard of with hundreds of addresses on the emails
all from folks using the Cc field. If anyone wanted,
it would be easy to copy every one of these addresses
and then send messages to them.

3. Change email addresses and never give it out,
except to us of course....we don't want you to
miss any of our newsletters :-). We at Choose To
Prosper hold your address in utmost confidence
and promise that your address is never sold, traded,
or made available to any second party.

4. Set your computer to not accept any cookies, or
prompt you before accepting any cookies. Delete
any cookies currently on your hard drive.

In case you're not aware of what cookies are, they
are little pieces of code that a Web site sets on
your hard drive that remembers who you are the
next time you visit that site. They can also act
as tiny transmitters sending info back to a host
computer about your online habits.

5. Don't un-subscribe to any spam mailings, if
you do, your can be re-sold as being a verified

6. Ask your local ISP about spam filters. There
are also several good companies out there that
require senders to verify messages before they
will pass them on to the recipient.

Dave Cole
Prosperity: The Choice Is Yours
Copyright 2005

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