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EMAIL SPAM....At first it was just annoying.

In the beginning, SPAM was not more than a handful of messages that you had no desire to receive. You didn’t know the sender and often the content within the message was just gobbledygook.

Then it went from annoying to inundating: hundreds of unwanted emails coming into your inbox from unidentified sources or businesses that forced you to give your email address just to buy something from them or simply peruse their website.

Then it got scary: it became sophisticated. Not only did the email look like it was from a legitimate source (like your bank, or the CRA), but it contained links and attachments you felt were genuinely important. So you opened them.... and BAM! Your computer contracted a virus. And then double BAM! Now your email address is the one sending illegitimate emails to everyone in your contact list. Lord help you if you inadvertently begin spamming others with x-rated content. Your boss or mother may never get over it. And the embarrassment! My goodness.

A few tips to consider in the fight against SPAM –

Identify it
Look for links: spammers are looking for you to interact with them. Don’t do it. Don’t click the link. Don’t open the attachment. DON’T DO IT!

Check the spelling: spammers are notorious for their terrible spelling and grammar. A poorly composed email from an unidentified or identified source is a sure fire cue the email is not truly legit.

Read the message: receive an email claiming you just won money or free electronics?  OH NO YOU DIDN’T! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. It’s SPAM.

 Prevent it

Don’t give your email address out online: if you can avoid it, don’t give it out.

Make your email address unscannable:  have a website? I sure hope your email address isn’t writ large for all spam bots to access. Try hiding your email address by using a link. For example, email me here.

Don’t make your username the same as your email address: Usernames are almost always public, and it’s simply a matter of figuring out the correct service to add at the end.

 While the above info is all fine and dandy... the top rule in dealing with SPAM is......NEVER RESPOND!!!  As in, never.  Never, ever.  Never, ever, ever.  Just don’t play their game.

And when the spammed becomes the spammer.... CHANGE YOUR EMAIL PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY.

Something to consider: Did you know SPAM is seasonal? Unlike robberies, which take place when no one is home, spam is more effective when someone is around. That’s why a good spammer will always target peak days, they aim to slip right in with our (presumed) interests and take advantage of everything that may help spam blend in with legitimate e-mail. So they always use seasonal keywords like Christmas, Thanksgiving or Black Friday to catch our eye. Tax season, the launch of a new smartphone, a new OS, summer diet season, anything is fair game when it comes to launching a new spam campaign!

Last but not least – you’re not alone. Block and report SPAM to your email provider. Let them know what’s happening – they can help!

Blocking SPAM to Gmail accounts.

Blocking SPAM to Yahoo accounts.

Blocking SPAM to Live accounts.

 Good luck out there!