Sounds almost like a cheap Sci-Fi movie..... but it's no laughing matter.
SPAM, or junk email is a problem everyone is having these days. Spammers make money by selling verified email addresses to other spammers, so the problem always escalates and just doesn't seem to want to stop. Un-solicited emails for all sorts of ridiculous, evil, pornographic, medicinal, financial and just plain stupid stuff floods our inboxes every day. Some of it is not harmful, others are going to cost you bucks to get your computer cleaned if you open them. Here's some examples:
Medicinal: vitamins, men's health, women's health, and other performance related emails are just trying to pick your pockets by getting you to buy nearly useless stuff from uncertified vendors who may or may not send you anything at all. Go to your doctor if you need a pill.
EBAY: These emails want you to "log in to verify your account" under penalty of suspension if you don't. They are always bogus. EBAY already has your information, and will never ask for it again. If you fill in those forms, you'll be giving your username and password to someone who's going to steal from other people using your good name. The same thing goes for un-solicited PayPal emails.
Scams using Ebay, Paypal, Amazon, Your Bank, The FBI and on and on.... You might get an email saying that there was suspicious activity in your account, or that you are being investigated for fraud, or you're money laundering, etc, and that you have to go to their website to resolve this issue. Don't Do That!!!! If you do, you'll be giving them your login and password, and then you have a really big problem!
Never click on a link in an email and then log in with your username and password. This applies for ALL circumstances. You should only log in to websites that you want to log into, and have done so by entering in their website address.
Windows Patches. Microsoft already has a patch program to install updates in your computer. It's called Windows Update. So getting one via an email is just a trickster trying to get you to launch his spy program in your computer! An email requesting you to install something is bogus - don't do it!
Banks. Do you actually have an account at the bank that's requesting your information? Probably not, but if you give your personal data out, your real bank account may soon be zero'ed out!
Screensavers: Spyware! Some of these download keyloggers that watch what you type and send it to someone who wants your personal information. Others flood you with pop-up advertising which just won't stop.
Penny Stocks: Why, for just a few hundred dollars, you can lose a few hundred dollars! The way to make a small fortune with these is to start with a large fortune!
I Got A Filthy Email From Myself! Why does this happen? At some point, someone you email with got a virus, which read their contact list. It then began sending out emails to you "from you" using their machine. You didn't send the email, someone else who has an infected machine did. Simply delete the offending email - don't open it, don't click on anything in it, just delete it and move on.
All other junk emails: Just by clicking on these to open them, you'll be launching something that will cause you problems.
Why Do Spammers SPAM?
Simple - money! For every verified email address, they can sell it for as much as 6 cents to the next spammer. Not a lot of money, but multiply it by thousands, and you get the idea. Plus, and thanks mostly to kids, spammers get a return rate of as high as 6% on the junk mail they send out, which they can use as advertising figures to sell their services to the next person who wants you to go to their pornsite, meds, bank, and so on.
How do they get verified email addresses? They start at email@example.com and go to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then sit back and wait. Any answered emails are verified accounts, and worth money to them! If you wondered why the internet is slow at times, you can thank them for flooding it with useless junk!
Let's Destroy Your Business!
Wow, what a title! But, we've seen people who run a business let their kids and visitors use their business computer to browse the internet. They just have to click on one pop-up or open one infected email, and their entire business is in jeopardy! Don't let anyone else use your business computer! Get an older junker for your kids or visitors to use. Set up a username and password on your business computer to keep it safe! If you lose your computer, you may never recover your business records - could your business survive that? Oh, are you doing backups on your important business data? Click HERE for an easy way to do that.
Never Do This!
Never open any junk emails. You'll start something you'll regret
Never click on the "Remove me from this list" button, they lie, and they'll cost you money to get your computer cleaned.
Never give out your information, no matter how convincing the email sounds. Silver-tongued criminals know how to talk you into doing something you'll regret.
Some junk emails include a "Sender has requested a reply" in their email, and if you allow that automatic reply, well, you just gave them your email address, which they will sell to others, and more junk will come to you. Never allow that automatic reply to go out. The steps below will set your computer up to never send a read receipt.
Always Do This!
Always be cautious of emails with attachments. If you don't know the sender, immediately delete the email - and don't ever open the attachment, it will be a virus or worm, and you will have to spend money to clean your machine.
Even if you know the sender, be sure that the attachment is something you were expecting. Friends sometimes get viruses on their computers, and can send you an automatic email with a virus-laden attachment. And just to make it worse, spammers sometimes copy your friend's email address and send you stuff, and you might open it accidentally. Always be very cautious with attachments!
Highlight the offending email, and then Delete it. Empty your Deleted folder from time to time. Don't go into the deleted folder and click on a "deleted" email - the Deleted folder is just another folder and you can open an email in there. And that would be bad!
You can set your computer to automatically empty the Deleted folder when you close Outlook Express. To do this, open Outlook Express and click on:
Put a check in the "Empty messages from the Deleted Items folder on exit"
Receipts (at the top of the page)
Put a check in the "Never Send A Read Receipt" box
Always be suspicious of any emails you get, even those from a friend's email address. Sometimes they can have a virus, which spreads by sending itself to everyone on their address book list. You see an email from a friend, you open it, and blammo, you get a free virus or spyware! Always look at the email first in your preview pane before opening it.
Don't Waste Your Time Doing This
Some customers add the offending spam email address to their blocked list. This is a waste of time because spammers always use spoof email names, and they constantly change them to new, equally phoney email names. Notice that they never ask you to reply to their email, but they always ask you to click some link on the email. That's because their email name is phoney and they will never see the reply.
Why Do I Get All This Junk?
Pop-Ups and SPAM. Sometimes, and right in the middle of doing something else, a pop up will appear in front of what you are doing. We often just blindly click on it's Close button, which then starts a program that reads your email inbox and starts collecting information. Soon you'll be getting lots of SPAM! The only safe way to close a pop-up is by clicking on the red X in the top right corner. Be careful, some of them put a second one just below the real one hoping you'll accidentally click on it.
Opening Junk Emails. If you've clicked on a junk email and opened it, well, you just gave them permission to make you crazy.
Buying Cheap Games on CD. You've seen them at Wal-Mart and other places. 1000 card games for $10. 100's of Screensavers for just $9.99. If you take the time to read the fine print, it often says something like: "By using this product, third parties not under our control may send you important information...." which is actually "we'll be sending you junk email and lots of pop-ups!"
Grandchildren. We love em, but they can tire us out. "Go play on the Computer while I rest a bit". Kids click on everything! Better to have an older computer that they can play with than the one you rely on every day.
Porn Sites, and other questionable places. If the site is free, well, it isn't. You'll soon be seeing more than what you hoped for.
if you go to a website that requires you to enter your information so you can log in, and you put in your email address - kapow - they've got you. Put in our popular email@example.com email address, and any bad stuff they wanted to send you will go straight into where it belongs, and not into your computer.
How Do I Stop This Insanity?
There are 3 things you can do:
- Call us and change your email address. Only give it out to your family and friends. And then follow the guidelines above.
- Buy an Anti-Spam filter from McAfee
- If it just started suddenly, do a System Restore to a date before the SPAM started. This will stop some, but not all of it.
OnALot.com's Lean Mean SPAM Fighting Machine!
In June of 2007, we purchased and installed a very robust and feature-rich email server. We have a very effective Anti-SPAM program running on it, and it detects and deletes well over 90% of all SPAM emails. However, if you (you, your kids, grandma, visitors, etc.) click on popups, open bad emails, visit nasty websites, and so on, you're going to get SPAM! We can only do so much, and, the spammers are so creative with their attempts to get around servers like ours that there's always going to be a few that get through.
Just delete any SPAM that arrives. Never open it, never click on anything inside those emails, and especially don't open any attachments.