I‘m sure you’ve read that Spam accounts for roughly 90-95 of the email that reaches the average inbox is supposed to be there. This isn’t good from an identity theft perspective considering spammers aren’t the most ethical bunch.Sure, email has its upsides. How did we ever live without the occasional crude joke from a well-meaning brother-in-law or “friendly reminders” from the phone company that our bill is twelve seconds passed due? Unfortunately, those upsides come with the aforementioned bad sides: Spammers love clogging your inbox with offers to increase certain parts of your anatomy and decrease others. It’s just so darn cost-effective for them compared to buying stamps and annoying you the old-fashioned way. Just What Exactly Counts as Spam Anyway? There are two basic types of spam: (1) nuisance emails – these are the most abundant, your typical run-of-the-mill offers for cheap blue pills, sultry ladies of the night waiting just for you, and various other things that are just too good to be true. (2) malicious emails – As a writer of an identity theft blog, these are of most concern to me. These spamtastic little devils are out for one thing and one thing only: to deceive you out of your money or your personal information. One common malicious email type is know as a phishing attack. This is when a spammer disguises his email as though it came from a credible source, such as a common store, website, or financial institution.Not only can spam be dangerous, but it can cause you to miss emails you actually wanted to read. How many times have you accidentally deleted an email only to realize later that it was from a trusted source? How many times have you not received a wanted email because your spam filter acted liked an overprotective mother? How Did Those Unscrupulous Yahoos Find My Email Address Anyway? Honestly? You gave it to them. Well, maybe not directly. Did you fill out a form online? Did you post to a forum? Did you sign up for a mailing list of some sort? Spammers search the Internet for such address, typically using harvesting software to do it form them (spammers are tremendously lazy…that’s why they are spammers).Of course, some websites sell your information to third parties who, in turn, sell your information to fourth parties and so on until it gets into the hands of a spammer. I Pay My Taxes! Why Hasn’t Uncle Sam Put an End to These Shenanigans?!Easy there, big fella. The Federal Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM, clever, no?) requires unsolicited commercial e-mail messages to be labeled and to provide instructions on how the recipient can opt-out. The law also requires the spammer to provide its physical address and discontinue the use of deceptive subject lines and false headers on the messages. Here’s something nifty: if you receive a piece of spam that doesn’t comply with the laws, just forward it to spam@uce.gov to unleash the full, unbridled fury of the Federal government upon the poor, unsuspecting spammer. Well, “unbridled fury” might be a bit of an overstatement, but the email will at least be logged and used to help track down spammers. I setup a folder in my inbox to automatically forward any email placed in it to the government email address. That way it’s just as easy to report spam as it is to delete it.


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