Lately the amount of SPAM in my inbox has increased dramatically – up to 120 or so SPAMs a day. This is not only a waste of my time and bandwidth, it makes me very concerned about who has my e-mail address and how they got it. As you know, I am an advocate of using services like GuerrillaMail to keep from having to reveal my e-mail address online.

I checked my past e-mail patterns, and found that all this extra spam started arriving after I received one specific e-mail that had been forwarded to me by a friend. What I realized was that the header on that particular e-mail contained a list of over 50 other e-mail addresses. I’m sure you’ve seen these kind of messages – several descending headers, each with someone’s entire mailing list in them.

Here’s an important tip:

If you are sending to more than one person on your e-mail list, use Bcc instead of Cc at all times unless you absolutely want the others recipients to know whom you are also sending to.

By now, I suspect everyone is familiar with snopes.com and/or truthorfiction.com for determining whether information received via email is just that:  true/false or fact/fiction.  Both are excellent sites.

Advice from snopes.com

1)  Any time you see an email that says “forward this on to ’10′ (or however many) of your friends”, “sign this petition”, or “you’ll get bad luck” or “you’ll get good luck” or “you’ll see something funny on your screen after you send it” or whatever — it almost always has an email tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of those folks you forward to.  The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of ‘active’ email addresses to use in SPAM emails or sell to other spammers.  Ignore them and don’t participate!

2)  Almost all emails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida/Canada/England (depending on which letter you got) who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of email is, is a way to get names and ‘cookie’ tracking information for telemarketers and spammers — to validate active email accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your Friends and Family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them.  You will be providing a service to your friends.  And you will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam emails in the future!

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