Librarian Geek at the West Warwick Public Library

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Spam is getting scary!

Some people get tons of it, some only get a little, but everyone who has an email account has to deal with spam. It's that junk email that winds up in your inbox but you have no idea why these people want you to refinance your mortgage, get out of debt, or purchase any of a number of things you never signed up to find out about. But now, according to this MSNBC article, spam could be more a more serious threat than just its nuisance factor.

If you've ever opened a piece of spam and scrolled to the bottom of the message you've probably seen the little "opt out" or "unsubscribe" link that you can click on to supposedly be removed from their mailing list. Clicking on that has always been seen as a useless effort because it probably won't decrease the amount of spam you receive and you could just be letting the spammers know they're hitting an active email address. It seems there's more to those little links--by clicking on one you could be inadvertantly downloading code that will allow the spammer to take over your computer and use it to send even more spam to other people, or you could be inviting the spammer into your computer so he/she can gather up whatever personal information you have lying around on your hard drive.

There really isn't a good solution to stopping spam completely. But what you can do is set up several email accounts that you use for different thing--one for online shopping, one for personal emails from family and friends, etc. That way you can keep your personal email as spam free as possible. If you're getting swamped by the amount of spam that's hitting your inbox every day, just dump that email address and create a new one. Yahoo offers a good, free email service that does a fair job of blocking spam. Check out the library's computer class schedule to see when the next email class is being offered or give us a call to sign up at 828-3750!

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