Why am I getting so much porn e-mail?

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on January 13, 2003 4:37 PM

Question

How can I eliminate e-mail, which appears to be porn? I'd love to find a way to avoid having them come into my system at all. Can you help?

- Marion

Answer

This question was answered on January 13, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Over the years I have written several articles on fighting unwanted e-mail messages, but the dramatic increase in the number of readers that have had this specific question, means a review is in order.

(By the way, over 2 years worth of my past columns is posted at www.computerproblems.com.)

Let’s start with the ‘Why am I getting them’ question. Most new users assume that you must frequent adult web sites in order to start receiving porn messages.

In reality, if your e-mail account has been used for more than a month or especially if you are a subscriber of one of the large ISPs like AOL or MSN you will likely get lots of unsolicited messages, not just porn offers because they are big targets.

If you’ve ever replied to Spam that claims it will remove you from a list if you reply, then you fell for a cruel trick. These supposed honest claims of removal are actually a sneaky way to get you to verify your address so that it can be sold to others, including, (you guessed it!) porn vendors.

You must be extremely careful who you give your e-mail address to, because once you have given it, you have no idea what is going to happen to it.

All of you well meaning joke senders that don’t know how to send to groups properly are exposing every address in your message to everyone else on the list. All it takes is one evil person on the list to have all those addresses become part of a Spam list.

Before sending to groups, learn how to use the BCC: (Blind Carbon Copy) feature of your e-mail program and learn how to cut and paste messages instead of forwarding them or stop sending messages to groups.

Once your address has been circulated around the Spam circles, you won’t get them to stop sending junk, so you can either change addresses or work with some sort of message filtering.

Everyone should have at least two e-mail addresses, one that they used sparingly with close friends and family and one that is used for everything else. Your best bet is to acquire a second address from one of the large free-mail systems such as Hotmail.com or mail.Yahoo.com.

When your free-mail account starts to get too much junk, stop using it and create a new one.

No matter how careful you are, you’re still going to get junk mail, so create message filters in Outlook and Outlook Express or install one of the many free mail-filtering programs, as long as you are not an AOL subscriber.

AOL does not conform to current e-mail standards, so none of the widely available tools will work and their built-in ‘block sender’ method is virtually useless because Spammers don’t use the same return address.

To get a complete overview of my current tips and resources for fighting junk e-mail go to datadoctors.com/spam.

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on January 13, 2003

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