Thursday, April 10, 2008

When saying "No" Is Really Saying "Yes"

Perhaps more than any other application enabled by the Internet, email has changed the way we communicate. The ability to send words and pictures to friends and family around the corner or around the world is nothing short of awesome. Once the province of a few geeks (remember CompuServe), email has become a “must have” for the teen as much as Grandpa Joe or Grandma Mary. In fact, one of the fastest growing segments of email users is made up of retired persons. With families moving far from home for job or school, email allows a consistent, albeit virtual, closeness.
With all the pros there comes a few really irritating negatives. Perhaps the most irritating is spam. Unlike the meat byproduct of the same name, email spam does more than sit on the shelf waiting for some calamity of nature to force its consumption. Email spam gets into your email box filling it up with junk. All of us at one time of another have been offered a reward of millions of dollars if we would only help out some poor Nigerian housewife shelter her fortune from the corrupt government. I won’t even get into the various emails I receive offering to modify one or more of my body parts.
It is not uncommon for some heavy email users to sift though dozens of bogus spam emails everyday. I have known some people who have actually changed email accounts periodically and started over again. This is a serious move, since you need to notify the people you do want to have your address of your new information.
Here are some tips to greatly reduce the amount of spam you get.
- Be selective to whom you provide your email address. While it might seem harmless to give it to some companies for warranty registration, they really don’t need it. They have your phone number and postal address.
- If you do get spam from some organization you don’t know and there is a message at the end of the email telling you to “click here to be removed from our list,” don’t do it. Clicking on that return message tells the spammer that they have a live address. Before you clicked, they had no idea if you were getting the spam or not. Now they know you opened it and read it. Gotcha! Saying ‘No” is really saying “YES!”
- Many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will provide you with some anti spam software as part of the monthly price for service. When you first begin to use the software it may take some time for it to be effective. Most will flag and block some emails that you do want. You may need to “teach” the software your preferences.
I am sure you have read about the latest Spam target. Now many of us are getting unwanted Text Messages on our mobile phones. Not only are these causing us to waste time deleting them, they are costing us money since most of us pay a few cents for every text message we get even if we don’t open it. Most of the major mobile carriers are working to alleviate this new venue for spammers. I, for one, hope they are successful.



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