Oh God!!! Save me from Spams…

Email! Maybe a decade before email was a rare communication medium. Personal computers were not common and internet connections were slow but costly.
But now with the expansion of technology it has become a common mode of communication. So I thought to discuss about a common headache to email users. SPAMS!!!!
You may have seen email messages with subject lines like this.

4You won $ 100,000 from American National Email Lottery. Reply now to claim your reward.
4A free laptop is waiting for you…
4Earn $ 5000 just in one week
They are spams or junk email.,
"Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it."

Most are commercial advertising, for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. How do spammers get my email address and how should I save my email address. The following are some ways:

Forward emails responsibly.
Here is an email I received. It contained a photograph of a sick baby.
"My 2 year old daughter is a heart patient and needs Rs. 1,000,000 for a surgery. Thankfully "A famous company" has agreed to give me 50 cents per recipient of this email. Please save my daughter and help me by forwarding this email to all your contacts."

The user is convinced to forward it to recipients in his/her contact list. But let's see the bitter side.
4The email has a lot of email address attached to it. These are the addresses of those people to whom it was forwarded before it reached me.
4You send it to all your friends, and they forward to their friends.

4After some time the original email will have thousands of email addresses attached to it.
4Somehow the email reaches the hands of an email harvester or a spammer.
4The harvester extracts the email addresses and sells them to spammers.
4The spammer then sends out spam emails. He can easily send it out to one million or 10 million recipients in one click.

You can fight with spammers
Be wise and think twice
4You will not win $ 1000000 without purchasing a lottery.
4Microsoft or Ericsson never gives out free laptops or Mobile phones for forwarding emails.
4If the surgery thing is true how does that "famous company" count the number of recipients to multiply by 50 cents?

So you need to:
4Forward only the emails that you are very certain about.
4Before you forward an email, delete all the email addresses above the original contents.
4Use BCC field while you add the recipients to an email message. BCC means Blind Carbon Copy.
4Create private groups in Yahoo and Google and send the forwards to those groups if you are sending the emails regularly to the same group of friends.
4Never respond to spam, or follow the links that they send you.

Be careful when you provide your email address to some other party.
Most of the websites request your email address to sign up to download software, but we cannot say they are not the spammers.
Keep your software updated.

There are some viruses that use your machine as a Zombie to send email messages. By keeping your system updated allows you to fight with such threats effectively.

- Chathuranga Chandrasekara BSc (Eng) Hons

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