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Computer Tutorials

SPAM
HOW TO STOP RECEIVING SPAM

 

Good Morning...

     Are you sick of spam? Tired of people sending you, your family and even your children junk mail?   Me too!

     Everyone seems to have a theory on how to block spam, but we still get mail boxes full of it.   AOL says they are reducing spam, but your mail box is still probably full of it.   You can spend tons of money on filters, spam blockers, etc., and yet you probably have a box full of spam (the other white meat).

     So what can you do?

     The best way to reduce spam in your mail box is to start thinking like a spammer.  By the way, did you ever consider that spam and scam sound almost the same?  That spammer's are most likely scammers, and that they are bad people trying to find a way to send advertisements to you for products that are either a rip-off, don't work as promised or offer minors a view of the world that they probably shouldn't see.

THINK LIKE A SCAMMER
(OOPS, I MEAN SPAMMER)

     The first thing a scammer has to do is decide on is a product.  It could be something legal at a ridiculously high price (although they'll tell you the price is "Unbelievable") or it could be something illegal (Stolen copies of software, in which case both they and you could end up in jail).  Then again it might be something magical, such as a miracle cure (Try our diet pill, you'll lose weight, but don't take too much, you don't want to lose too much weight) for whatever ails you (the new generic Viagra, one dose and you'll turn into superman).  Then again, they could just be trying to sell you and your children (children have been known to charge things to their parents credit cards) naughty pictures.  And of course finally, they could simply decide to scam you, get your credit cared information, run up a high tab, and send you absolutely nothing.

THE SPAMMERS ONLINE STORE

    Now that the scammer has established what their product is going to be they have to have a place to market it.  On the Internet this of course means a website.  A website is of course an online version of a store.  The products are displayed, and the prices are hidden. They offer you all kinds of promises, tell you it's the best deal you'll ever get on a product like this, tell you about the low, low prices and then find a way to charge you as much as humanly possible (The price is low but the shipping is high, or my favorite, you buy a one day subscription which turns into a monthly subscription to multiple products which automatically renews itself - forever - until you can figure out how to cancel it).

SPAM PLAN

     After the scammer builds an online store (website) they need a way to lure people into it.  Normal advertising methods work for some honest companies (non-scammers) that are willing to invest in honest advertising and take a long term approach by selling quality products and realizing that word of mouth is the best advertising.  But for the "fly by night, I want to make money today" scammers the idea of spending money on advertising and selling products that work as promised seems totally ludicrous.  Why spend money on advertising and sell quality products when you can steal people's email addresses and sell junk at high markups? With that philosophy in mind, many scammers decide that email is the way to go.

     The Internet offers scammers an opportunity to reach large numbers of potential victims (Oops, I meant customers) at a very low cost.  All they have to do is learn to turn their scam into spam.

HOW SPAMMERS AVOID FILTERS

     One of the first questions a spammer has to ask themselves is "How will I get around all those filters, spam blockers and the ISP's spam controls?"  Most of them have found that most spam blocking software relies on identifying who the spammers are and then blocking email from the spammers email address.  In other words, the spam filter sees a bunch of email coming all the sudden from one email address, or it identifies certain keywords (adult language) and it asks a human operator (either you, or someone at your ISP) to verify if this is legitimate email or if it is spam.  If the human operator determines this is spam, the program then blocks all future email from that address. 

     The promoters of ANTI-SPAM programs/servers want you to believe that this filtering of email addresses this will stop all the spam.  It doesn't. At the very best it just slows it down. Spammers have learned that if their email is blocked using one screen name (Email address) all they have to do is create a new one.  Of course honest people would never do this.  They would never feel the need to change their identity.  Scammers/spammers on the other hand find that they can slip past the spam filters by constantly changing their email addresses.  Of course it could get expensive and time consuming for spammers if they had to keep buying new accounts to send email from, so they have learned to "STEAL" someone else's email address to send you spam from.  Hmmm... Have you thought about that? 

MANY SPAMMERS ARE THIEVES

     Most spam is from people sending you mail from "stolen" email addresses.  Hmmmm....  Do you feel that you can trust someone with your credit card information if they are writing to you from a stolen email address?  Anyway, the spammer has solved the problem of getting around all the filters you are using and so yes, you can buy software, beg your ISP to block spam, but at best doing all this you can only reduce it, not stop it completely.

     What else can you do?

THINK LIKE A SPAMMER

     The best way to beat the spammer is to think like a spammer.  Learn "All" the steps in the process of the spammers business.  And the next step is?

     Okay, the spammer has built a website (online store), decided on his advertising (False promises), found a way to beat the spam filters (stolen email accounts), now they only have to figure out one more thing, how do they get your address?

HOW DO SPAMMERS GET YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS?

     Spammers are lazy people who sell garbage at high prices, and they don't want to spend a lot of time and money gathering email addresses (making friends with a million people would take to much time), so they look for quick and easy ways to get email addresses of people like you, your friends and family.  The spammer sits their at their computer (either in an office or at home) and asks themselves... How can I get the email addresses for a million people a week?

non-BCC'D MAIL

     The scammer spammer now begins to research ways to find email addresses (yours) to send email too (You've got mail).  For most (amateurs) this probably begins very basic.  They join mailing lists and try to steal the list.  If the people on the list are visible (non-BCC'd) (BCC means Blind Carbon Copy and that no one but the sender can see the email addresses it was sent too) (Un-BCC'd means that everyone can see the email addresses that the email was sent too) the spammer can gather all the email addresses and add them to their address books.  In just a few days they can gather hundreds, possibly thousands of names, but this is a slow and tedious process.. So they...

CHATROOMS

     The next step for an aspiring spammer is to try chat rooms.  They can go to "public" chats on AOL and other Internet Service Providers and copy the names of people in those chat rooms into their address books.  With each chat room having anywhere from 2 to 100 people in it the spammer can gather names pretty quickly.  Especially if they learn to jump from chat room to chat room.  But still, it's a slow and time consuming process.

WEBSITES

     Next, the spammer looking for more people to spam might try going to websites (Yours, mine, etc.) and copying down any email addresses that appear on the sites.  Again, this is a way to collect email addresses, but it takes time.  But still, between the un-BCC'd emails, the chat rooms and gathering names from the websites the spammer is now able to gather thousands of email addresses (Yours?) to send mail too (junk mail that is).

     Spammers however need more than just a few thousands names to send to per day.  They need tens of thousands or more.  So where do they get them?

PROFILES

     Some spammers have learned to get the software of big companies like AOL to help them gather email addresses.  They do this by going online using that server and reading profiles (yours).  They can do a search for keywords (first names, cities, states, boys, girls, anything) and AOL (Or whatever ISP they are on) will give them lists of thousands of email addresses that have that keyword in their profile (You've got spam!).

     Wow, now the spammer can get ten thousand email addresses a day, but what if they want more?

DANGEROUS GREETING CARDS

One way for spammers to get your email address is to get you and your friends to unwittingly give it to them.  One of the slickest ruses for this is to create a greeting card site.  When you visit a spammers greeting card site it asks for your email address (the sender) and the email address of the person you are sending it to (the receiver).  The card gets emailed from you to them, but the spammer now has "both: your email address and your friends and can now sell it to other spammers for a profit.  For more details click below.

DANGEROUS GREETING CARDS

SPAM SOFTWARE FOR SALE

     Now comes the scary part.  There are companies that sell software that will monitor Un-BCC'd mail to automatically collect and store email addresses.  There are companies that sell software that will log users in AOL (And other servers) chatrooms and within seconds send everyone in the room spam. Some of these programs can monitor hundreds of chatrooms at a time (Now you know why every time you go to a 'public chatroom' you suddenly get a mail box full of spam (or was that scams).  In fact, there are programs that can search the Internet looking for websites that have email addresses on them and copy all the email addresses from those sites in milliseconds.  Worse still, there are programs that spammers can buy that will automatically enter keywords on AOL and other ISP's searching profiles and writing down every single email address they see. 

    Are you beginning to understand how spammers are getting your email address?

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU VISIT A SPAM WEBSITE?

     There are still other ways that spammers can get your address...  For instance, when you visit a website, the website software can be programs to save your email address and store it in an address book so that the spammer can send you email.  Not just from that site, but spam from other sites too.

SPAMMERS SELL YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO OTHER SPAMMERS

     In fact, spammers can make money selling your email address.  They can use these programs to collect email addresses, and then sell them.  Recently I got a spam message saying that I could buy 100,000 email addresses for just $89.  I wonder if one of those was your email address?

    Okay, so spammers are all over the place using both simple technology (hunt and scribble) and high technology (Search programs) to collect your email address, send you spam, and then sell your address to someone else (they send you more spam) who will probably turn around and sell your email address again (along with a hundred thousand others) to still more spammers.  What can you do about it?

HOW TO STAY OFF THE SPAMMERS MAILING LIST

     The best way to stop receiving so much spam is to make it harder for spammers to get your email address.  Remember, if a spammer gets your email address (for instance in a chat room or from your profile) your email address could be sold over and over again to dozens of people meaning you get dozens of spam emails. So the converse is also true, if you manage to avoid even one spammer who is collecting names you could also be avoiding receiving dozens of spam mails.  Avoid being collected by a dozen spammers and you could reduce the spam you receive by hundreds of emails a month.

     I can't promise that you will immediately stop getting spam. First of all, some spammers already have your name and may continue to use if for days or weeks.  Second, someone else may leave your email address out where the spammers can find it (such as in Un-BCC'd email).  But I can promise that if you follow the following suggestions you can cut the spam you receive by a huge amount.

BCC ALL MAIL

     The first step to protecting yourself and your friends is to BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) all email.  This hides your email address from spammers, and it hides your friends email address from spammers too.  For a tutorial on using BCC please visit  http://www.baddteddy.com/tutorials/bcc.htm

DON'T USE THE SAME NAME FOR EMAIL AND YOUR PROFILE

     As we already discussed spammers are using software to collect email addressees from AOL and other servers by doing a search on "profiles."  If you have a profile, the spammer gets your email address, and boom, "You've Got Junk Mail!"  Some of us have decided to no longer use profiles because of this, but if you want a profile, my suggestion is to use at least two separate email identities.  One for email, the other for your profile.  For instance, my primary screen name is BaddTeddy.  I don't use a profile on this screen name so that spammers can't find me.  However, I do enjoy talking to local people so I set up a separate email address as SaddTeddy.  That one has a profile, but I have blocked all email to SaddTeddy.  So now BaddTeddy doesn't get spam (at least not from profile searchers) and although the spammers try to send it to SaddTeddy they can't because that email address has a block on all email.  When they try to write to me they get a message that says "SaddTeddy is not accepting mail from you!" So I get NO SPAM! Okay, I know you're gonna ask, How do people that see the SaddTeddy profile contact me.  Easy, I put a note in the profile that says, "Please email me at BaddTeddy@aol.com"  :-)

DON'T USE YOUR EMAIL SCREEN NAME FOR CHAT ROOM

     Earlier we discussed that spammers can gather thousands of emails an hour from AOL's (and other ISP's) chat rooms.  Does this mean you can't go to chat?  Absolutely not. It just means you need to have separate email addresses for EMAIL and for PUBLIC CHAT.  For instance, I use BaddTeddy for email, but I use SaddTeddy for public chat rooms. Spammers see SaddTeddy in the chat room and try to send him mail.  However, I have blocked SaddTeddy from receiving email from anyone.  So spammers try to email me but guess what, they get a message saying, "SaddTeddy is not accepting mail from you!"

      So how do my friends in the chat room send me email? I say, "Hey, my real name is BaddTeddy, send me email at BaddTeddy@aol.com"

     Duh!

DON'T USE YOUR EMAIL SCREEN NAME WHEN VISITING WEBSITES

     By now I think you are starting to catch on.  The best way to avoid spam is to hide your real identity from spammers.  Knowing that spammers collect the email addresses of people who visit their websites and then sell those email addresses, what do you think the best way for you to avoid giving them your email address?  Is not by never going to another website?  Of course not.  It's by using a different email address for email than you do for visiting websites.  Personally, I use BaddTeddy for receiving email, and I use SaddTeddy for visiting websites.  BaddTeddy is invisible to the spammers.  The spammers can see SaddTeddy visited their websites, but when they try to email him they get a message that says, "SaddTeddy is not accepting email from you"

     Are you getting the idea now?

     Spammers hate people like SaddTeddy.  They run into problems with AOL and other servers just like we do.  For instance, if they sign onto AOL (from a stolen screen name) and try to send email to SaddTeddy, AOL stops the email from going thru and send them a message that says, "SaddTeddy is not accepting mail from them" Now they have to go thru their address book and remove SLOB BOY, and then try to send email again. In other words, I just wasted five minutes of their time. (Revenge is so sweet).  Big deal you say, he managed to waste five minutes of the spammers time.  But you are forgetting, I am sitting here teaching thousands of people how to do this.  Imagine how frustrating it will be for a spammer if they have to go thru the hassles of removing thousands of people a day who are not accepting mail from them.  It may not stop them completely, but it could give them a real headache (Victory for the good guys and gals)

CHANGE EMAIL ADDRESSES ON YOUR WEBSITE
FROM HTML TO JAVASCRIPT

     I mentioned before that spammers now have software that can search the HTML (this is the code that most websites are written in) and search for email addresses.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that if you have a website and you want to make your email address invisible to spammers there is a way to make your email address invisible to those programs.  I did it to the KnightsOfKindness.com and the amount of spam our members were receiving dropped by a huge amount.  It's really simple to do if you have a program called EMAIL ENCODER.  The bad news is that their website appears to have disappeared. The good news is that you can email me and I will send you a copy (It's a free shareware program).

DON'T REPLY TO SPAM EMAILS

     Now, after all we have discussed about scammer/spammers using stolen email addresses to send you unsolicited junk mail are you willing to trust anything they say?  I hope not.  With that in mind I want you to think back to the last couple spams you received.  Did any of them have a line that said "Click here to be removed from our mailing list?" 

     Spammers try to verify if the email addresses they have are good (Currently in use) or bad (the account has been closed) and one way to find out is to get you to respond.  What's the best way to get you to respond if you did not go to their website and buy their product?  By putting a message in the email that says, "Click Here To Be Removed From Our Mailing List."  That's right, if you click on that link you are telling them that your account is active, that you are online and that you read the email they sent you.  What would a dishonest person do with this information?  Probably send you more spam and/or sell your email address (now they have proof that it's a good email address and therefore worth more than if you had not responded) to dozens of other spammers.

     Remember, "The Delete Button Is Your Friend"

REMOVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS FROM ONLINE YELLOW PAGES

     There is one more source, okay actually a few sources of spam that we have not covered so far. One of these is when you actually give companies your email address. For instance when you buy something online, from a local store, from a local company, etc... many of them now ask you for your email address.  Refuse to give it to them or you could get spammed (they can sell your email address just as easily as anyone else).  The other source of spam is people actually searching public records for information on you.  For instance they go to various online Yellow Pages (Telephone Books Online) sites and can get not only your email address, but a list of addresses you have lived at, your phone number, your drivers license records and more.  Yikes! Scary?  Don't believe it?  Then how do you explain spam that contains your name, city, perhaps your address (Or your old address) etc.  These types of scams are usually from unscrupulous insurance companies and lenders, in my opinion anyone that uses this tactic is a con-artist and should not be trusted. Don't buy from them.  And hide your information from them.

     How do you hide your information from these companies and other types of spammers/stalkers. etc? Begin by going to a few of the major search engines and doing a search on your name (For instance www.Google.com). Look for all websites that have your information posted on them, contact the owner of the site and demand that your information be removed.  Go to all the online Yellow Pages sites and demand that they remove your information too. 
 

Switchboard.com
Infobel.com Yellow.com

   These are just a few of the companies that may be listing your personal information on the web, but they are a good place to start in demanding that your personal information not be made available to spammers and stalkers.

IS IT WORTH IT?

     What you have just read is a long email about the process that spammers use to gather and use your personal information and you may be asking yourself is it worth the effort to try to reduce the spam? Let me answer by saying that most of the things I have suggested only take a few minutes, but can save your from receiving hundreds of letters a month.  But there is something else you should consider, a huge number of viruses are spread by spam.  (See how below)

SPAM VIRUSES

     I want you to imagine for a minute that you are a spammer.  Yes, you are now some corrupt minded person either sitting in your living room or office (I believe most spammers are individuals working from home) trying to figure out how to make a profit at other peoples expense.  You have just collected a hundred thousand email addresses.  Some you bought, others you got from chat rooms, maybe you got a few thousand from un-BCC'd mail and perhaps you found another ten thousand by having your computer search websites around the world for email addresses.  Your computer has been running slow because you have so many programs running at once so you turned off as many unnecessary programs as possible (including your anti-virus).

     Your computer catches a virus while visiting websites.

     While you (the spammer) are out buying groceries, sleeping or doing something else the virus takes control of your computer.  It begins sending mail  to everyone in your address book.  This seems to be the virus's lucky day.  You have over 100,000 addresses stored in your address book.  The virus starts sending email to all 100,000 addresses.  Attached to each email is a small file.  Maybe it says, "Check out this new screen saver" or "You're gonna love this," but what it is really doing is sending copies of itself (a virus) to all 100,000 people in your address book.  But hey, what do you care anyway, after all, these people aren't your friends, they're just potential paychecks, right?  

     Now you, the real you, not the spammer you, need to stop and think a minute.  Have you ever gotten a strange email with a file attached.  Something you didn't recognize coming from someone you didn't know? If so, now you know what happened.  Somewhere in the world, somehow a spammer had gotten your email address, and then a virus on the spammer's computer had tried to send itself to you.  And now you know why the vast majority of viruses are sent from spammers computers, after all, who else would have over a hundred thousand email addresses stores on their computer.

SPAMMERS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND

     Spammers are not your friend.  They are an assortment of con-artists, swindlers and profiteers many of whom are also involved in stealing peoples passwords and email accounts.  They are not the kind of people that I want to give my credit card information.  How about you?

     The best way to avoid spam is to use the spam filters (they are far from perfect but they do help), hide your identity from the spammers, never respond to spam and most of all...  Never click on a link from a spam website (they'll send you spam forever and then sell your email address to other spammers) and tell everyone you know to never, Never, NEVER buy anything from a spammer (if they don't make money, maybe they'll go out of business and quit sending spam)
 

REMEMBER

SPAMMERS ARE SCAMMERS

Huggs To All... And To All A Good Night... BaddTeddy
 

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