Monday, August 07, 2006

12 months of spam

It has been a few postings since I complained about spam. For over the last year I have been tracking the messages I receive in my Yahoo account. During that time my GMail and personal accounts have started to receive spam, but, Yahoo endures an ongoing flood. Here is a summary (June 2005 to May 2006):

Legit = 1,716 messages
Spam = 3,365 messages

Of the spam 223 were obvious scams and another 118 were phishing attemps. The worst month was May when I endured a flood of 1,767 spam messages while receiving only 141 legit emails.

For those who get spam:
  1. Don't 'unsubscribe'. When you reply with the 'unsubscribe' spammers know that they got a live account and your inbasket will probably be flooded.
  2. If your ISP provides spam filtering use it!
  3. For phishing attempts forward them to the financial institution for them to handle. Don't ignore them as this gives the spammer time to hurt some one else.
  4. Create a 'throw-away' account in Yahoo, Hotmail or GMail. When you fill in those registration cards use that account and not your personal.
  5. If it is an obvious spam don't read the message. Discard it. There are ways for the spammer to know the message was read. The easiest is to embed a graphic link so that when you open the mail it send a request to send the picture and the spammer knows it is a live account.

Here is a quick list of a number of email addresses to forward those phishing attempts to:
  • Bank of America -
  • Barklays -
  • Chase -
  • EBay -
  • MSN -
  • PayPal -
  • VISA -

A few more things you should be doing:
  • Keep your anti-virus up-to-date.
  • Keep your firewall up-to-date.
  • Keep your system patched. If you are using Windows use 'Windows Update'.
  • Backup all of your critical data to CDs (or DVD) on a regular basis.

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