Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

Five simple steps to help in the battle against spam

NEVER RESPOND TO SPAM
Responding to spam gives the sender a reason to send more email to your address. Often spammers will sell respondent customer?s addresses to other senders, which will lead to your inbox being swamped with more mail by many more senders.

DON?T POST YOUR ADDRESS
Be careful where and when you put your email address on the web. Spam companies have software that goes through the entire net searching for available and active email addresses. Once these addresses are identified, the spamming begins. Protect your address whenever possible.

USE A SECOND EMAIL ADDRESS
If you must give out an email address regularly on the web, set up an alternate address. Set up one address for all of your friends and family and one address for work or play on the web.

USE A SPAM FILTER
Although there are no filters that can eliminate all spam, there are many effective programs that can stop a good amount of spam. A number of websites offer free spam relief and there are programs that can be purchased.

NEVER BUY ANYTHING ADVERTISED IN SPAM
If consumers stop buying products from spammers, the emailing should slow dramatically or could possibly be stopped. Companies will no longer pay spammers if they are not turning a profit form the sale of their products via advertisement on the web.

For additional useful tips and guidelines about email use and protecting your identity online, go to:

http://spam.abuse.net/
http://www.spamfaq.net
http://www.stopspam.org
http://www.the-dma.org

More on Spam...A virus or worm infiltrates computer software and corrupts programs and an email address book. Many times, the worm then auto-initiates spam to all email contacts. Once the new recipients open the spam, the virus has replicated exponentially. The software code has created a backdoor access to overtake a computer's operating system. Phishers, whose look-a-like emial imitates a legitimate copmany are "fishing" for active email accounts and consumers who take the bait, answer the email and unwittingly provide personal information.

The term spam was coined after a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television show, Monty Python comedy skit staged in a cafe offering SPAM (American company, Hormel's product made from SPiced hAM), on the menu.  Years later another description of SPAM was the acronym, Sales Promotion And Marketing, referring to bulk, unsolicited advertising mail.