Do you get more than 15 junk mail messages per day to your inbox? We have seen users get up to 200 unsolicited junk e-mails per day, most of which are caught by our SPAM filtering technology. Use these tips to avoid this junk e-mail and also to keep your personal information safe.
1. This is probably the biggest mistake for most of our customers: Do not reply to unsolicited e-mails. If the e-mail does not appear to be from a trustworthy or legitimate source, delete it without replying. A federal anti-spam law called The Can Spam Act, went into effect January 1, 2004, requiring a functioning "opt out" link or a legitimate "reply to unsubscribe" e-mail address. Some unscrupulous spammers have ignored this law and continue to trick recipients into unwittingly responding to a fake "opt out" link, which actually verifies their e-mail address as a valid one. Therefore, it is still strongly recommended that recipients of unsolicited e-mail carefully consider whether an "opt out" or "reply to unsubscribe" seems legitimate and act accordingly.
2. When signing up for a mailing list, read the terms and policies. Signing up should result in wanted or solicited e-mail, but the list provider should disclose whether signing up will result in the sale or trade of your e-mail address to other parties.
3. Make your e-mail address is difficult to guess. Don't use a common name or common words. It is not uncommon for spammers to use software programs to generate random user names based on common names and words in the dictionary. In addition, common e-mail addresses may have been used previously and my still be on old mailing lists. For instance, I use "clark" for the first part of my e-mail address. Since that is a normal first name, and because I have posted my full formatted address on places such as this website, I receive 175-200 junk messages per day. With our filtering techhnology I only get 2 or 3 per day to my inbox. If you would like to change your address just send Clark an e-mail.
4. Do not post your primary e-mail address on websites, in newsgroups, bulletin boards or chat rooms. Spammers use software programs, often referred to as spiders or bots, to search for and harvest e-mail addresses on public forums. If you must post your e-mail address in a public place, post it in an altered format. For instance, if your address is firstname.lastname@example.org, you could post it as customer@NO SPAM.protech.com, and people would understand and take out the NO SPAM so that they could e-mail you, but address harvesters would not be able to read it.
5. Use the black and white filters in your webmail interface to add approved addresses to your account. Many legitimate e-mails from financial services and shopping sites are assumed to be SPAM by the filter, because of the volume of similar messages which are, in fact, SPAM. As an extensive user of online financial services, subscriber to mailing lists, and just about anything else you could ever use an e-mail address for, I have not had any problems allowing legitimate messages to my inbox. Once in a while, a legitimate message from a new sender will get caught, but in that case I just check my SPAM folder and approve the sender. E-mail Clark for help with your spam folder.
The term Phishing comes from the fact that Internet scammers are using increasingly sophisticated lures as they "fish" for users' private information. The most common ploy is to copy the look and feel of a web page from a major site and use that design to set up a nearly identical page that appears to be part of the company's site.
Be leary of messages appearing to come from your bank or online payment service. We have seen countless fake e-mails appearing to come from E-Bay, Wells Fargo, Pay-pal, US Bank, and other online financial services. While these companies do send you legitmate mail, phishers send messages which look identical, but the links to log in to your account will often be to a fake website made to look like the real thing. It will actually just collect your info, and than maybe forward you on to the real website. Always check the address bar if you must click on a link from your financial services to see if it is in fact the correct site.
There are several steps you can take to make sure you never fall for one of these scams:
* Always be suspicious of any email or phone call that asks for your personal account information, such as usernames, passwords, and account numbers. Emails, phone calls, text messages, instant messages, or Web logs that appear to come from a reliable source may not always be authentic.
* Always ensure that you're using a secure server when submitting credit card information. To make sure you're using a secure server, check the beginning of the web address in your browsers address bar - it should be https:// rather than just http://.
* Contact your bank or credit card company if you think you may have replied to a fraudulent email with sensitive personal information.