SPAM: Not Just a Lunch Meat Anymore.
What is spam?
Spam is any unsolicited email. It is "Junk" mail in electronic form. It is more prevalent than traditional junk mail because the senders do not have to pay postage. It has been estimated that approximately 50% of all email on the Internet is Spam (this percentage will increase over time).
Why am I getting Spammed? (How did the spammers get my email?)
Spammers have special programs that will automatically extract email addresses from web sites. Also, anytime you use your email address in any online transaction, you increase the chances that your address will fall into the hands of spammers (spammers will steal your address from where these transactions are stored). Spammers are paid a small percentage from any sale resulting from one of their messages. This amount may be small but since we are talking millions of addresses, a small sales percentage can mean big profits. Spammers do not take into consideration whether or not you will likely bite on the offer. If it is a valid address (or looks like one), they will use it.
What can I do about spam?
There is no silver bullet solution to spam. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize the amount you receive:
- Do not respond to any of these messages – Just delete them. Many of these spam email messages have a line that says "If you do not wish to receive further messages click here". Do not do it – delete the message! If you respond, you have confirmed to the spammer that your address is valid (you can bet you will now receive even more spam).
Is there any way to block spam?
There is no perfect method for automatically blocking spam from reaching your email inbox. However, OCIS has implemented an anti-spam application that runs on our email server. This application can be set to filter an individual's email for potential spam on an as needed basis. Is this a good solution for you? Consider the following before deciding:
- Clever spammers are constantly changing the appearance and verbiage of their messages to prevent their messages from being filtered. Not all spam will be blocked.
- Many times legitimate email will appear as spam. Many listserv messages will appear this way. Messages with a lot of formatted text will appear as spam. Care will need to be taken to identify the messages that were filtered that should not have been.
- Setting up this anti-spam solution for you will involve:
a) OCIS will create a SPAM folder on your email where filtered messages will be sent (any message that the system thinks is spam will go into your SPAM folder instead of your inbox).
b) You must check the contents of your SPAM folder each day and let OCIS know of any legitimate messages that are being filtered. The system will be instructed to always let messages from this source arrive unfiltered in the future.
c) In order to keep your SPAM folder from becoming too cluttered and difficult to manage, you will need to delete the definite spam from this folder on a daily basis.
- If you receive less than 30 spam messages in a day, this solution will not save you any time or trouble. It will be easier for you to just delete the spam directly from your inbox and not worry about managing a SPAM folder. If you are not accustomed to working with email folders or you like to keep every email message you ever received in your inbox this solution is not for you.
Contact Terry Bailey or Chris Bedwell in OCIS (2611) if you need further clarification or if this sounds like a good solution for you.