“Spam” seems to be ubiquitous. If we can’t find a way to stop it, it may simply take over our computers, tablets, and smartphones. I wonder if this new year will be declared “The year we stop the spam.” I hope so.Yes, I have spam blockers, but they don’t always catch it all. If you don’t know what spam is, Wikipedia describes spamming this way:
Spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems to send an unsolicited message (spam), especially advertising, as well as sending messages repeatedly on the same site. While the most widely recognized form of spam is email spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media: instant messaging spam, Usenet newsgroup spam, Web search engine spam, spam in blogs, wiki spam, online classified ads spam, mobile phone messaging spam, Internet forum spam, junk fax transmissions, social spam, spam mobile apps
All forms of spam come with risks—it can come with disguised links that look like they’re for a website but in reality are phishing expeditions or are hosting malware. Let’s take a look at my spam.
This morning I had 217 copies of the same message in the comment section of this blog, each one from a different ID and IP. The message read:
“Hello. I remember i had seen this site before…This guy made a exact copy of your site. Or possible this is also your site?”
It’s bad enough to have my blog flooded with spam but to have the same illiterate message repeated 217 times is really annoying. I understand trying to get a message out under the spam radar. Trust me. I get it. Many think, “If it’s possible to get my message out to a massive list of people and even a small percent buy what I’m selling, I can make big profits.” ” If I can get my link on millions of websites, I’m way ahead.” I believe that’s the idea. Right?
People are paid to put spam comments on websites and blogs. I have a major problem with comments that have a page or more of links that someone is trying to get on this blog. Others seem to try to fill my blog with porn, illiteracy, gibberish, and languages I don’t recognize. The volume makes it almost impossible to sort out the real comments and post them to the article they cite.
I get a lot of unsolicited email. I don’t have a problem with this for legitimate business use. In fact, I have received a few unsolicited mailings that brought information or an opportunity that I needed.
But some people send out seven or more email messages a day after I subscribe to their list. I used to wade through them, trying to find the kind of information I signed up for. Now, if I get more than 1 message a day from a list, I delete it. I get hundreds of emails daily and am tired of spending time with the spam.
I no longer open email from someone I do not know.
If I am getting all this, others must be getting it as well. The volume seems to be growing exponentially on my blog and in my email, and I imagine everyone who is getting hit is getting hit harder as the weeks pass. It’s time to stop the spam.
To me, this is the worst spam of all. I get texts trying to sell me things I don’t want or need. But worse, I get robo-calls that want to help me with my student loan (I NEVER had a student loan), my health insurance (I already have a plan) and offers to win a lot of money. (That would be nice, but I believe they just want to get my information). It’s annoying, uses up my phone, and fills it with unwanted texts. And, yes, I’m on the “do not call” list.
So what can we do about it?
- Get the best spam blocker you can find for your devices.
- Avoid opening spam emails or texts and clicking on links in spam messages. And never buy anything from a spammer.
- Never reply. Don’t let them know you exist.
- Don’t threaten the spammer.
- Avoid “unsubscribe” options. Clicking “unsubscribe” will confirm that your address is active and may attract even more spam.
- Be wary about giving out your main email address.
- Never reveal your email address on your website. Use a web contact form instead.
- Present your address in a way that people can easily figure out but which will fool spambots. They will look for a pattern, such as email@example.com. Writing the address as ‘a at b dot com’ would probably evade them.
- Use a disposable email address. You could use this account for buying online or writing to newsgroups. You can delete it and set up a new one if the spammers find you.
Just like the school-yard bully
It’s the same old deal. Just like the school bully ruins everyone’s day, the spammers are doing a good job of ruining the freedom we have experienced on the Internet.
It is called selfishness and greed.
There have always been those who will hurt anyone who gets in their way or use other people’s stuff as their own. They use the Internet, too. Some of their bullying is called spam. Let’s beat them at their own game and stop the spam.