December 15, 2006
From the Free Computer Consultant
Spam - why do I get it and what can I do about it?
(I repeat this holiday shopping tip for the benefit of this weeks new readers - Welcome!)
Before I get into today's tip, I want to draw your attention to a new page on my site dedicated to saving some money on your Holiday purchases. It's titled: Christmas $avings
On to today's tip.
I'm always asked why people spam. "What do they get out of it?" everyone wants to know. Well it's just like those TV commercials that you can't stand. Why do they keep replaying them, certainly no one actually calls in and buys from that hokey commercial do they?
Well, I've been able to benefit from some legendary marketing people over the last year and they all assure me that if I see any kind of TV ad, mailing, or spam over and over it's a guarantee that it's making its owners big money.
When it comes to spam I have a real hard time believing that, but this week I came across an article that finally put some numbers to it.
Here's a quote:
A notorious U.S.-based spammer, Jeremy Jaynes, was convicted of spamming by a Virginia court in November 2004 and sentenced to nine years in prison. (The decision was upheld in September and prosecutors are pressing for the jail time to begin immediately, according to antispam organization Spamhaus.) Testimony during the trial showed that Jaynes sent millions of spams a day, netting $350,000 to $700,000 a month after bandwidth charges, despite the fact that only 1 in 30,000 recipients purchased anything, according to Spamfo, an information site.
With that kind of money at stake, it's not hard to see why spammers are outstripping the ability of white hats to stop them.
Regarding the penny stocks that the SpamThru group likes to promote, researchers Jonathan Zittrain and Laura Frieder reported in July that a great deal of cash can be made. Spammers who buy such thinly traded stocks -- which they then promote in millions of spams – can make 5.79 percent returns in a single day, the study found. The suckers who buy the touted stocks lose an average of approximately 5.5 percent within two days, before paying brokerage fees. Repeat that process over many weeks and you're talking real profits.
[Source: Datamation - "Has the 'SpamThru' Trojan Doubled Spam or Not?"
December 12, 2006
By Brian Livingston
full story here]
Explains a lot, doesn't it?
What to do about spam?
Unfortunately, there is no easy, inexpensive remedy; once on a spammers list, you'll be fighting it forever. They trade, barter or sell their list to other spammers and you can never get off. A change of address is the only sure way. A host of anti-spam products will certainly help, but you will always have to wade thru the junk folder to see if there is a "false positive" in there that you want.
If you have a new email address and want to stay clean or at least want to prevent your problem from getting any worse, here's what to do and not do :
1. Guard your email address. Don't give it out everywhere. Use throw away free addresses (msn, gmail, yahoo) whenever possible. Perhaps a second email account specifically for online orders or even free subscriptions. There are also sources of temporary email addresses good for a few minutes or days.
Lots of these services. Always use SiteAdvisor when searching for a service like this (or any searching for that matter). Go to "green" sites only. Give out your real email only to trusted people or companies.
2. Beware of friends and family members that send out emails to large groups without using "BCC" or blind carbon copy. Those emails then get forwarded on and on, with YOUR email address there to be harvested.
3. NEVER put your email address on the web in it's normal format. Use some kind of camouflage, at minimum "firstname.lastname@example.org" with a note to remove the abcxyz. Something. Be creative.
4. Be courteous of other peoples email address. Learn to use BCC (blind carbon copy) and when forwarding emails, strip out all extraneous information, especially email addresses.
5. NEVER open an email you know is spam. Many emails include "phone home" programming that lets the spammer know that yours was a valid address when opened.
6. NEVER click on the "remove me from your list" in a spam email. Again, that won't get you off the list, just confirm that yours is a real address.
And last but not least, try not to get too attached to your email address - just in case you need to do a "change of address".
Hope this information is of use to you, that's it for this week.
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