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DO NOT REPLY TO SPAM

DO NOT OPEN OR RESPOND to spam email. Opening spam can often alert spammers that they have reached a working email address and potentially sell your email address to other spammers. If you do not know the sender and the subject line has odd characters or is misspelled, we suggest that you do not open the email but to delete the email.

If you open a spam e-mail by accident, DO NOT UNSUBSCRIBE from spam that you receive. Many spammers use unsubscribe requests to verify that email addresses are in fact legitimate. Once you unsubscribe, they know the email was received. This actually makes your email address more valuable to spammers. If you believe that you are receiving an unwanted bulk email from a reputable company, un-subscribing will most likely be safe and should be done. However, if you don't know the sender, don't unsubscribe or reply.

DO NOT PURCHASE products/services from spam ads. By purchasing from spam ads, you are enabling the spammer to accomplish their goal of making money and using spam as a way to advertise their products. Once you have made a purchase, you are now open to receiving additional spam.

DO NOT REPLY to or forward long chain letters that you receive via email. Spammers may collect email addresses from some of these chain letters that are passed through hundreds and sometimes thousands of groups of email users. Also, if you choose to send out "joke" e-mails to groups of people, ensure that they actually wish to receive such things. If they don't you are only clogging up their mailbox and, if the e-mail contains and attached video or picture, it may be infected with a virus or trojan.

DO NOT SIGNUP for any service that claims to be a “Do Not Spam List,” similar to the FCC’s “Do Not Call List.” Many of these services are fraudulent and actually may lead to your email address being added to more Spam lists.

PROTECT YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS

AVOID SHARING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. Avoid providing your email address when you are unsure how it will be utilized. In addition, read the fine print when you sign up for newsletters and memberships. Many times opt-in check boxes are pre-checked when you sign up. Uncheck the opt-in check box if you do not want to be included in a membership directory or to avoid receiving emails about company promotions etc. In addition, do not give your email address away unless you are confident that the recipient is a trusted party. If it is an optional request from a third party, leave it blank. If it is required, it is best to use a temporary email alias address or an email account that you have with a free provider such as Yahoo! or Hotmail.

DO NOT POST YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS ONLINE. You'd be surprised how often you use your email address for newsletter subscriptions, in chat rooms or to join online groups. Before you post your email address, know whether it will be displayed or used. Then use a "public" email address when necessary.

MAINTAIN MULTIPLE E-MAIL ACCOUNTS. While handling multiple email accounts may be cumbersome, many people find it useful to have public and private email accounts. For example, you could use your company address for business purposes, but create a personal Hotmail or Yahoo account to use on the Internet for message boards and newsletters. Therefore, if the Hotmail/Yahoo address becomes proliferated with spam, it can be discarded and a new account can be established. When establishing an email account, it is a good idea to combine letters and numbers: j123smith@. The combination of letters and numbers makes it more difficult for the spammers to guess your email address than if it were letters only: jsmith@.

DO REGULAR SEARCHES on Google or another large search engine for your email address to determine if it can be found by spammers.

UTILIZE YOUR E-MAIL PROGRAM

AVOID RECEIVING E-MAIL IN HTML FORMAT. Some spam messages are sent in HTML format and may contain hidden codes. If such a message is previewed via the preview pane of your email client, the hidden codes can alert the spammer that they've reached a working email address. In order to prevent the receipt of HTML messages, you can set your email client to deliver the messages in plain text format only.

FILTER YOUR INCOMING E-MAIL. The means to do this will vary between mail clients. If your software has this capability (such as Outlook Express, Outlook or Calypso), you should find instructions on how to do it in the help section on your email program. (Help should be in the top right corner of your e-mail program's toolbar)

IF YOU HAVE A WEBSITE

One of the most prominent ways that Spammers collect email addresses is by writing automatic scripts that crawl the Internet and pick email addresses off of Web sites. For this reason, email users and Webmasters should ONLY PUBLISH GENERIC EMAIL ALIASES ON THE WEB. These aliases should, preferably, be replaceable so that once spammers pick up on the aliases, they can be discarded and replaced with another alias address.

DO NOT RELY ON AOL or other generic email addresses for business purposes. Many companies that provide free email services make money by selling email addresses and subscriber information to spammers, advertisers and other third party marketing organizations.

HIDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS ON YOUR WEBSITE – ask your web developer how to minimize the exposure of e-mail address to spammers without the risk of losing customers wanting to contact you.

AVOID USING AURO-RESPONDERS. Auto-responders are out-of-office messages. Be aware that if your auto-responder is active when you receive spam, the auto-responder will confirm the existence of your email address to the spammer.

REPORT SPAMMERS TO THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISION BY FORWARDING SPAM TO uce@ftc.gov


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