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Spammed Email

Spam email has been a problem pretty much since the beginning of the Internet. Over the last several years, it has gotten progressively worst and has been a challenge to control. Security experts estimated that about 90% of the world’s emails are spammed.

So, you are not the only one being victim to this type of harassment. Some of you are getting random spams that are manageable through spam filters and email programs with integrated spam filter. However, there are many of you getting rather large volume of spammed emails daily. 

Your irritating spam emails are most likely coming from one or more infected robot computers around the world. It was probably an virus or spyware that stole your email address somewhere in the first place. To make matters worse, when you responded to the spammed email, you verified to the sender system that your email account is active. From this, you started receiving spammed emails or even more spammed emails.

What can you do?

  1. Complain about the spams to your ISP services. This would put the ISP's spam-control experts more in gear and they would start tweaking the service's anti-spam filters. That would help you and everybody using that ISP service.
  2. Setup dedicated email spam filters. This can be done using the server side and service base spam filters such as SpamAssasin, SPAMfighter, GFI, Symantec, and etc. You can also add spam filter on your system such as Window Washer Pro, SPAMfighter, Cloudmark DesktopOne Pro, ChoiceMail One, SpamBayes, Spamato, and etc.
  3. You can unsubscribe or opt-out. This usually is a simple link at the end of each email. There is a small risk that some would accept the opt-out cause inconveniences such as selling your email address. You just have to try the best you can.
  4. If the email was threatening, police or other enforcement involvement might be wise. For non-threatening emails, there isn't much you can do.
  5. NEVER OPEN e-mail attachments you're unsure about, even if they come from friends. Don't agree to, or click on, anything in a pop-up window
  6. If you simply don't recognize the email address, that's different, DELETE that email. BUT you can try Google search and see what pops up. The address might be tied to a user profile somewhere.
  7. All emails have headers which you can access to help determine the source and if safe to open. Below is an example of such header.

    Delivered-To: my_email_address@my_service.com
    Received: by 10.147.245.12 with SMTP id y1103111mur;
    Mon, 22 Feb 2010 16:01:00 -0800 (PST)
    Return-Path: <sender's_email@sender's_service.com>
    Received: from mail.server.com
    by mail.server.com with ESMTP id 21si10621152pxi.99.2010.02.22.16.00.58;
    Mon, 22 Feb 2010 16:00:59 -0800 (PST)
    Received: from [192.168.78.123] (unknown [192.168.78.123])
    by mail.server.com (Postfix) with ESMTPSA id CRA2365800
    for <sender's_email@sender's_service.com>; Mon, 22 Feb 2010 17:00:57 -0700 (MST)

    Some headers will have more information, some less. The important part to start with is the "Received" sections. Each "Received" block is a piece of routing information. From the bottom up, they trace the route of the email. The bottom block is where the email originated. From this information, you might be able to research the source and determine the next step.
    However, it may be fruitless to trace the spam. Finding the computer may lead you to a zombie computer (user computer that was compromised by hackers). There are millions of zombie computers. They are generally owned by people who didn't protect them. Perhaps the owner would clean the one you found. But it's like pouring the ocean into a hole on the beach. You will never make a dent.
  8. If you are using email client programs like Outlook and Eudora Pro, turn on and train the junk mail filter. This can address some.
  9. The last resort would be to change your email address. It is recommended to have at least two email addresses. Use one for friends and family, and the other for Web site sign-ups. The latter will attract most of the spam.