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Tech Tips      

In this part of the South, the end of the school year is rapidly approaching.  College graduations have already taken place and High School graduations are scheduled for this week and next. The last day of school for most school systems in this area is May 23.  The children are excited and anticipating the long lazy days of summer vacation.  They can hardly wait for the day they will be "free" and able to sleep late and do whatever they want.
 
Of course, every parent knows that the novelty will soon wear off.  After a week or two, at the most, the familiar chorus "I'm bored" will be heard daily, if not hourly. Unfortunately, some of our tech savvy offspring will entertain themselves using their computer skills to create mischief, to create SPAM.
 
Have you noticed that the amount of SPAM you have to deal with increases every time there is a school holiday?  Of course, there are professional SPAMMERS who create problems for us on a daily basis, but it is impossible to discount the role that bored teens play in the increase in SPAM that occurs when they are "free".
 
This month's RoadMap presents a few reminders about how to protect yourself from SPAM.  The TechTip provides information on how to get control of the other unwanted communications in your life.

 

SPAM Prevention RoadMap

Roadmap

 

Why does your mailbox fill up with SPAM? What can you do to stop it?

 

 It is impossible to stop SPAM since it costs nothing for a spammer to send out millions of e-mail messages.  The only thing that we can do about SPAM is to be vigilant when using the internet.


SPAM is often caused by our own bad internet habits. Here are a number of suggestions which will help stem the flow of SPAM into your mailbox.

  • Use a unique e-mail address - Pick an address that is hard for spammers to guess and easy for you to remember. Also, when chatting online, use a unique screen name that is not associated with your e-mail address.
  • Use multiple e-mail addresses - Consider creating separate addresses or accounts that can be used for online purchases, chat rooms and other public postings. Whenever you post to a public forum, you open yourself up to SPAM. You can even create disposable e-mail addresses using a service like SneakEmail.
  • Check the privacy policy when you submit your address to a Web site - Always be familiar with a Web site's privacy policy before submitting any information. Make sure that the site is not going to sell your information to others.
  • NEVER reply to SPAM - Doing so will confirm that the e-mail has reached a valid e-mail address. Use the "unsubscribe" option on valid e-mails or newsletters that you no longer wish to receive, but if you receive blatant, unsolicited SPAM simply delete it or report it as such. NEVER buy anything from a company that SPAMS!!
  • Report SPAM -- If you want to complain about SPAM, use SPAMCOP or a similar service. If you suspect fraud, send a copy of the e-mail to the National Fraud Information Center.  If the fraud involves stocks, send the e-mail to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Filter your e-mail -- Using filters is key to successfully managing SPAM.  It may take a while to get the filter set-up correctly, but it saves lots of time and frustration in the long run. Learn more about SPAM filters here.
  • Mask your e-mail address -- Make sure that your webmaster masks the e-mail address on your website so that web crawlers cannot harvest your organization e-mail addresses and send SPAM to you. One way to do this is to eliminate your mailto: links and publish your addresses in a way that only humans can read them -- "mary at myorg dot com". Of course, the user will then have to type the e-mail address themselves.

By implementing these simple tips, you will be able to prevent much of the SPAM that is currently filling your inbox.

 

SmartSite Technology is the virtual IT Department for small and medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations.  We provide all of the information technology services that a business needs to compete in today's marketplace.
 
Our goal at SmartSite Technology is to help each of our clients to be a success!! We know that technology is not a core competency for many small business owners and non-profit professionals. We believe that every organization benefits when they automate their business processes. We work closely with all of our clients, even those who are uncomfortable with computers and technology, to help them introduce automated processes into their operations. 
 
Contact us today to discuss your technology needs.
Sincerely,
 
Dixie Groutt
SmartSite Technology 
May, 2008
In This Issue
SPAM Prevention RoadMap
Your Tech Tutor Says...
 
Prevent Other Types of Unwanted Communication
tutor pic number 1
 Unfortunately, SPAM e-mails are not the only intrusions in our life. We get unwanted solicitations via telephone and snail mail, too. Check out the advice on Obviously.com  to begin getting your snail mail and phone calls under control, too. To find other sites that will help you with any type of unwanted contact, type "stop blank" into your internet search, replacing the word "blank" with "mail", "phone", or what ever type of communication you  want to stop. You might also want to search "stop identity theft" to find out how you can make your private information safer. By spending a little time now, you will have greater peace of mind and a more relaxing summer. In addition, you won't have as much junk mail to open and you will help the environment, too, by keeping all of that unwanted paper out of your landfill!    
 
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