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Resources > Spam Security
What is Spam? Who is a Spammer? Why do they do it? Technical Information & Resources. Spammers go to great lengths to disguise their messages and identities, so knowing their tricks will allow you or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to better filter spam and delete unwanted e-mails. This article will help you see right through their guile and avoid any more wasted time online. Your ISP might also offer a filtering tool.

 

What to do about Spam

Spam SecurityAttachments
Never, ever open an attachment from a suspicious e-mail
It could contain a virus that could wipe out everything on your PC. To compound the damage, it could duplicate the virus and send it to everyone in your e-mail address book, potentially destroying their machines as well.

Content
Don't trust anything in the body of the message
As the saying goes, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." More ominously, though, there may be inappropriate content or pictures.

Date Tampering
Most inboxes are sorted by date, and spammers may get you to notice their new message by changing the date to several days earlier.

Reply to Sender
From (reply or reply-to address) Similar to the "Sender" field, the "From" e-mail address is not to be trusted. It's simply made up. If you attempt to reply, it will either bounce because the address doesn't exist, or it will go to an innocent person whose e-mail address was copied without their knowledge.

Name of Sender
Many spammers fake the name of the sender with something innocuous like "Bob." Is it an e-mail from Uncle Bob? Or maybe from your co-worker? You don't know, and the spammer counts on your curiosity. Worse yet, some spammers will fake an e-mail as being from someone you trust, like a national bank or a well-known online retailer.

Subject
If you're lucky, you can identify spam based on its subject line: You don't need a lower mortgage rate or a date with Trixie. But more often, spammers use guile to make the subject line something you might click on. Who hasn't forwarded funny jokes with a subject line like "FWD: great punchline"?

To:
A new trick is to even fake the "To" or "Recipient" field. It doesn't appear that the e-mail was sent to you, so the spammer hopes that you will read it to be helpful and forward it along. Don't.

Unsubscribe Link
Clicking a link that promises to unsubscribe you will merely verify to the spammer that your e-mail address is valid. That verification means you'll likely be spammed even more.