Can That Damn Spam!
Why is it bad?
Imagine this: Tomorrow morning you open your (postal) mailbox only to have about five pounds of junkmail pour out onto your driveway. Then, as you sit down to dinner, the phone rings. It's a telemarketer, trying to sell you refurbished widgets or time-share condos in Siberia. You kindly explain to them that you are not interested, and hang up. No sooner do you put the phone back on the hook does it start ringing again. An hour later, you've disconnected the phone from the wall so that a 51st telemarketer does not further spoil your dinner.
The difference between these and spammers, however, is this: Postal junkmailers pay postage on each piece of crap they have stuck in your box. Telemarketing companies pay $$$ to the phone company to have numerous lines installed, and it costs them for every minute they advertise. Spammers, on the other hand, do not pay for the messages they send. (A number of them sign up on free trial accounts such as the AOL 15-free-hours plan. They send thousands and thousands of spams, then drop the account. This has the added bonus to the spammer of making them extremely hard to trace.) Instead the recipient, not the sender, pays for the spam they receive in the form of per-minute charges from their ISP, higher phone bills, wasted space on their mail servers and local machines, and plenty of wasted time deleting messages or attempting to unsubscribe from a spam list. For people using a long-distance Internet connection, this can get expensive. Receiving spam is like having telemarketers call you collect.
What to do about it
In the case of a known, reputable company that you feel may have just made a bad decision regarding their use of your email address, look for an 'unsubscribe' and maybe send some mail to one of the company's human-read email addresses (e.g. their PR people) and let them know, politely, how you feel about them sending you unwanted ads. In the case of all other spam, namely MLM materials and spams advertising spamming itself, don't bother with unsubscribe. This just tells them that your email address is valid and give more incentive to spam you. In this case forget even sending a complaint to the sender (the address is nearly always forged, and your complaint will just bounce right back); send some mail to the postmaster@ and abuse@ of the upstream providers, and if necessary, threaten legal action. Legislation has been proposed that will put junk Email in the same category as junk faxes, punishable up to $500 for each received. The upstream complaining can be made much easier by programs such as
which automate this process. In the case of spams from homepage providers
(e.g. Geocities) and large email providers (e.g. Hotmail) a complaint to
abuse will usually get the users' homepage and/or email account terminated.
(Please note: It is common for spammers to forge their mail so that it
appears to come from a large email provider's domain, such as hotmail.com.
This is intended to direct your anger at the (forged) provider, taking
the heat off the spammer's actual providers. Before sending a rude message
to one of these places or immediately blocking all mail from them, try
to make sure the mail really originated there. For example, real Hotmail
spam will contain an X-Originating-IP line in the headers, and Juno
accounts will never begin with a numeral: firstname.lastname@example.org is not
a valid account.)
Remember, if you find in your it belongs in the or the .
What not to do
And if all else fails: Don't get mad, get even!
"violent use brings violent plans"
Hurt this spammer where it hurts spammers the
Antispam & Security measures
Victim of thousands of mailbombs, sent by a spammer they'd dared to complain
to. (This is why you never flame a spammer with your real address!)
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