Unwanted e-mail, some with the potential to fool you into taking an action you might later regret, are an unfortunate fact of life in the electronic world of the Internet. Everyone needs to exercise a degree of wariness
What is Spam
Wikipedia defines spam: "Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages, especially advertising, indiscriminately" The term "spam" covers many different styles of unsolicited communication. Email Spam is also often used to spread Scams.
You should be suspicious of e-mails, texts, or social media messages that arrive:
- without a subject
- from a sender you do not know or recognize
- offering something too good (even $20 or $50 for a survey) to be true
- without greeting you by name
- containing poorly written English or typos
- having a file attachment of any kind
- containing a link that, when you hover over it with a mouse, displays a link that seems inappropriate in the context
- containing a link inviting you click - unless you have a very good idea where it will lead you
- asking for your personal details.
Also be suspicious where the "To:" list is "undisclosed recipients" but the e-mail attempts familiarity - "with the same last name as you".
When in doubt, delete.
While this page is about e-mails, don't lose sight of spam that comes from web browsing. Offers of 'free' toolbars, registry cleaners, things to brighten your teeth or reduce flatulence are to be avoided because the offerings are often not what they seem. These often come when you are installing a new app or utility. We tend to fly through such installs, and may regret this later on. Keep your wits about you.
Spam Email Warning Alerts
Some selected Spam email warnings we believe are of relevance to our members include:
Things You Can Do To Try and Reduce Email Spam
Given that preventing Spam is extremely difficult (it wouldn't be the major concern that it is were this not so), you can take steps to try and reduce the impact of spam to yourself. However nothing you do can stop it completely (unless you simply decide not to accept any form of electronic communication). Also note that the more effort you take to block spam, the more likely it is that you will also block a fraction of legitimate messages to yourself.
- make use of your ISP's anti-spam measures. Different ISPs employ varying amounts of spam counter-measures, depending on their resources and philosophy on to what extent they believe in "intercepting/analyzing" their user's emails. Please note that whilst PCUG/TIP utilize some anti-spam measures, we do not employ spam filters that scan the message content, as this requires greater system and admin resources than we have available. Brief details of the measures we use are given on the TIP Wiki Spam page. If these are not sufficient for your requirements, then you need to use some of the following alternatives.
- make use of the spam filtering capabilities of your email client. Many email clients come with spam filtering capabilities. However you need to activate and train these to make use of them. Once enabled, you need to tag messages as spam or not spam so your program learns what you regard as spam (or not). With sufficient training, this can help classify emails fairly well, as you wish. The disadvantage of this approach is that this classification is done on just one system, and doesn't help if you use several systems, and/or webmail to access your email.
- Forward your Email to another ISP, or to a large web-email provider (eg. gmail, yahoo, hotmail) who have the resources to run more agressive and nuanced email filters, and then access and read your email from this site.
See also our page with more practical guidance on Handling Email SPAM
Sites you can visit to find out more about "spam" are:-
- Stay Smart Online, an Australian government site with lots of useful information
- Australian Government ACCC Scamwatch - a number of members have found a subscription to their scamwatch list useful
- Wikipedia Spam page
- Anti-Spam Consumer Resources and Information
- Spamtrackers SpamWiki
- Scams - for details on scams, which may well be spread by spam