Email Anti-SPAM News, Help & Advice.

Fed up of receiving SPAM, viruses, scams and phishing schemes via email?? We were - so here are some useful news articles, hints and tips to keep informed and reduce the problem!

May 24, 2004

Never unsubscribe from spam

A lot of spammers put unsubscribe links at the bottom of their emails or ask you to reply with 'REMOVE' in the subject line. The problem is by clicking these links or replying:

1. There is no guarantee they will actually unsubscribe you.

2. You have actually confirmed your email address is valid and that you read unsolicited mail - this will almost certainly actually generate 'more' spam in your mailbox.

By all means if you did subscribe to a newsletter (i.e. you were expecting the email) but now no longer require it - it should be safe enough to 'unsubscribe' because the company will probably honour the unsubscribe request!

May 22, 2004

Don't use webmail / view HTML spam emails

Much of the spam sent these days is sent as HTML email. The simple reason for this is that spammers embed unique reference codes as a graphic - so that just by opening or previewing it you are effectively confirming you received the message and that your email address is valid.

The result is they build up a list of known good email addresses which they use / trade / sell to other spammers = even more spam.

This is largely unavoidable with web based email systems (by their very nature) but with normal email programs (Outlook / Outlook Express etc.) you can turn off viewing as HTML and it will display as plain text.

If you recognise the sender you can usually still view the HTML version but by turning it off by default you are not 'automatically' viewing / previewing the message and therefore not confirming your email address to all the spammers!

To turn off viewing of HTML email in Microsoft Outlook Express:

  • Select 'Tools'
  • Select 'Options'
  • Click the 'Read' tab
  • Select 'Read all messages in plain text'
  • Click 'Ok'

If you do then receive a HTML formatted email you need to see - select 'View' then 'Message in HTML' or use the keyboard shortcut: Alt-Shift-H

May 18, 2004

Where can you find out more?

Still want to know more about spam - see: CAUCE (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email).

What are 419 scams?

The '419 Scam' describes a type of fraud (originally started in Nigeria) whereby a person is asked for money to help secure the release of a share / percentage of a much larger sum.

It got it's name from section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code.

Typically this type of scam promises you a generous share of millions of dollars that for one of many reasons has become 'stuck' in their country. They need to be able to transfer the money out of their country to a trusted third party (you!).

Of course they need your contact and bank account details (bad idea already!) - usually also your telephone number so they can harass you!

Then you find out that until they get this money they are broke - they need hundreds to thousands of dollars for 'administrative' expenses to get the money released.

Of couse in the end there never was any money and the hapless victin loses out by thousands! but worse still - some have been tricked into going to these countries to collect the money - only to find when they get there they are mugged or held ransom!

Many people think of this as an Internet scam when in fact the origins go back to the 1980's when the scammers would send out letters and faxes instead - the Internet and email has just made their job easier!

May 06, 2004

Don't use 'catch-all' email addresses

If you have your own domain name - they are typically configured to allow 'anyone'

This is convenient 'initially' you may not know which email addresses you want and it also has the benefit of catching mis-spelt email addresses.

But spammers love it - they can send to and you will receive it!

So we would recommend you do it the other way around - instead of receiving everything - specify just the email addresses you want to receive and reject everything else.