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Tips for Consumers: Pulling the plug on unwanted spam!

Tips for Consumers
Pulling the plug on unwanted spam!

It has probably become a routine. Each time you check your e-mail, you are swamped with unwanted, unwelcome messages from unknown individuals or companies. Most sell scam products; make fraudulent attempts to collect your personal financial information; and some harbor viruses that will harm your computer files. Folks in the Hagerstown area waste hours each week "deleting" this junk.
The Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission offer tips to reduce the amount of spam that you receive. For example:
* Do not display your e-mail address in public. Spammers use newsgroup postings, chat rooms, Web sites and online service membership directories to "harvest" addresses.
* Use two e-mail addresses. Use one address for personal messages and another for newsgroups and chat rooms. When the public address becomes glutted with spam, just abandon it.
* Always check privacy policies. When you submit your e-mail address to a Web site, check the privacy policy to see if it allows the company to sell your address. If so, you may want to opt out, or choose not to send it to them.
* Use a unique e-mail address. If you use a common name in your e-mail address, like jdoe, that may affect the amount of spam you receive. A more unique name, like jd51x02oe, will foil spammers' attempts to target common name combinations.
* Use an e-mail filter. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may provide a tool to filter out potential spam or a way to channel it into a bulk e-mail folder.
* Never respond to spam. When you receive e-mails promoting credit repair, advance fee loans, deeply discounted software products, sweepstakes "winnings," miracle medical products and other "too good to be true" offers, ignore them. Answering tells the senders that you are a prospect for even more of their junk. You can also forward spam to the FTC ( It uses the unsolicited e-mails in its database to pursue prosecutions against spammers.
* Also send the spam to your ISP's abuse desk. That lets them know the spam problems on their system and helps them to stop it in the future. Include the full e-mail header.

To file a complaint visit: or write: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore MD 21230. Their office serves Baltimore and all of Greater Maryland.

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