If you're like me, you are being swamped with so many emails it's pitiful. We get tons of emails with offers from various companies, all of which are claiming that we have opted in to these lists.
With the recent Sobig worm virus we were getting close to 1500 emails a day until we were able to block this spam.
Couple of things you need to know here.
1. Used to be that if you un-subscribed to some of these mailings using the link they provide, your address would then be removed as requested.
Now, I wonder.
Seems like in a majority of cases, while you may never receive mail from that particular company again, your mail within a month or so multiplies.
Well what happens is that certain companies take your name off their list, but add it to a second list of "verified" addresses. See, in some cases when you do un-subscribe, you are really telling these companies that your address is a "good" one.
Then that list of verified addresses gets sold or traded to another mailing company, and whamo, the spam emails start coming from someone else.
2. Never un-subscribe from a pornographic email, they are notorious for trading these verified addresses. Instead get a good spam filter or talk to your ISP and see if they have spam filters available.
Our local ISP has such spam filters which have cut down on the number of porn emails we get considerably, and they provide this service for only an additional $1 a month.
3. Harvesting of addresses is a business. Never leave your email address on any site, guestbook, or newsgroup. What happens is that special software runs over the Web searching for addresses, and when it finds one, it adds that address to a list.
We know of one spammer who runs 24 computers, round the clock out of his home. All have software that gleans addresses and at the same time, the software sends out its message to the harvested address.
If your address is out there on a Web page or newsgroup, eventually those computers will find you.
Let's Make A Deal
4. Here's another big reason why you're getting so many emails from places you never heard of. At one time you did opt in to receive a newsletter or offer from one specific company.
You most likely got their offer, along with a few others from that company, but sooner or later, the flood of emails started coming.
You gave that company a verified address complete with your IP address, date, and time. (This happened behind the scenes as the host computer "read" your computer for the info).
So what happens next is that over time a company begins to get a large list of opt in names. Let's say we have Company A that has a list of 1 million names. They approach Company B, which also has a different list of names.
They make a deal. Company A "trades" their million names to Company B, and vice versa, so both companies now have a list of 2 million, verified, opt in names.
Go figure how many times your address can be traded over a relatively short period of time. This is considered "ethical" business practice by most email companies and the major reason why they end up with huge lists of 50 million or more names.
That's the biggest reason you are getting so many spam email offers from places you never heard of. Once they find a good address, you'll never get off these traded lists.
The only way to stop this kind of spam email is to delete your address and start over with a fresh one.
5. Another way companies get your email address is that when you visit a site, that site sets a "cookie" on your hard drive. Some of these cookies are able to then send information back to the host computer telling that computer what Web sites you visit, thus what your interests are.
Your name gets put on a "targeted" list. For example, if you like pets and visit a lot of pet sites, then the cookie tells the host computer that you are a pet owner and your name goes on a targeted pet list.
What You Can Do:
1. Never leave your email address on any Web site guestbook, or in any newsgroup, or posting from such places like YahooGroups or Topica.
When you order items online, set up a special free email account specifically for ordering. Most reputable companies will never release your name, but a few do sell their lists to other parties.
There are plenty of free email providers out there, do a search if you don't know where to find them.
2. If you have friends who send out emails to multiple recipients with all the addresses showing in the Cc field, ask them to please send using the Bcc field instead. Using Bcc (blind carbon copy) hides your address from other recipients.
We get a lot of messages from people we never heard of with hundreds of addresses on the emails all from folks using the Cc field. If anyone wanted, it would be easy to copy every one of these addresses and then send messages to them.
3. Change email addresses and never give it out, except to us of course....we don't want you to miss any of our newsletters :-). We at Choose To Prosper hold your address in utmost confidence and promise that your address is never sold, traded, or made available to any second party.
4. Set your computer to not accept any cookies, or prompt you before accepting any cookies. Delete any cookies currently on your hard drive.
In case you're not aware of what cookies are, they are little pieces of code that a Web site sets on your hard drive that remembers who you are the next time you visit that site. They can also act as tiny transmitters sending info back to a host computer about your online habits.
5. Don't un-subscribe to any spam mailings, if you do, your can be re-sold as being a verified address.
6. Ask your local ISP about spam filters. There are also several good companies out there that require senders to verify messages before they will pass them on to the recipient.