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A spamming problem - how would you handle it?
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 09:57
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Nov 8, 2008

I have started to get mail from a site, which I never have visited. The mail have the form moc.mia@neztok - I reversed to name to avoid plugging for it, but it seems to have a real, valid IP. I have been getting about 5-10 such mails a day and even putting them all right away into my thrash can, I resent them (so far it's viagra etc).

Fact is I have a real good Email provider (GMX) so it seems they either have not detevted it yet, or they have no way to kill it. Neither do I, because the b*rds keep changing the names (kotzen - such an apt name - is just one of those never again recurring names). And I would rather not try to start sending unsubscribes, because that would sure just confirm my mail adress is active.

I am pretty sure my mail adress was leaked one way or another by a sloppy mass-mailer, who used cc instead bcc. The result is that my adress is then seen by a lot of other E-mail programs and it takes just one infected adressee to leak it eventually to the spamming crowd.

So ... what can I do about that site? There must be black listing sites to stamp out this kind of constant mail sources... Anybody else hit by by these SOBs?

Regards

Vito


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Some are unfilterable Nov 8, 2008

Vito,

Every single day I get an erectile dysfunction meds ad from... myself! They manage to put my e-mail address as the sender too. So, if I add it to any of the three successive antispam devices I have, I'll never get e-mail messages from me, e.g. messages I post on Yahoogroups lists. So I got used to delete them. Fortunately, it's only one per day, seven in a week, 365 per year (366 on leap years). It's good to know that there is still something in this hectic world that never fails.

Another one is a never-ending series of arm-length advertisements for some management development courses in Mexico, where unfortunately I've never been. Each one is sent from a diferent person, viz. name-dot-surname-at-gmail.com . It is useless to add these "people" to my spam-catchers because they are never repeated, and it would be quite insane to block gmail-dot-com altogether.

So I learned to live with these. They comprise less than 1% of all the spam I get, of which my quite efficient spam filters take care of more than 98%.


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 00:57
English to Russian
+ ...
I know the feeling. Nov 8, 2008

Yes, it is mighty annoying.

I used to be bombarded with offers to enlarge a certain body part that I don't even have... they were very persistent, and yes, they used the trick José has mentioned: they made it appear as if I had sent this garbage to myself! How they do it is beyond be...

But, unfortunately, modern techlology doesn't have a way to stop it completely. So, as José says, you just learn to live with it.


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Paul Cohen  Identity Verified
Greenland
Local time: 05:57
German to English
+ ...
There is a way to filter out 99.9% of your spam Nov 8, 2008

About a year ago, I found myself up to my ears in an ever-growing tsunami of spam. To solve this problem, I've subscribed to a special online filter service called spamarrest (www.spamarrest.com).

Problem solved!

My email is routed through their website. All emails sent from addresses that are on my list of known contacts, i.e., my "white list," are immediately forwarded by spamarrest to my email address. All other emails receive a "challenge email" that asks the sender to click on a link and then type in a code that is embedded in an image. If there is no response to the challenge email after a week, the email is erased automatically from the server.

Spams are usually sent en masse by a computer, so 99.9% of all spammers can't respond to the challenge email. When a new contact successfully fills in the "challenge" box, he, she or it is added to my white list. After that, all emails from that address are forwarded directly to me. And the spams? I don't download them and I see them.

I almost never receive spam these days, but occasionally people have trouble filling out the challenge email (they sometimes suspect that it's spam!). Most translating agencies have no difficulties. If I know that new correspondents are going to send me email, I sometimes try to make life easier for them by placing them on my white list myself. When you sign up for the service, the first thing that you do is import your entire list of contacts onto the virtual white list on the server.

There is also a black list of people who I never want to hear from again. But it's not very long.

One drawback of this system is that you cannot receive emails that are sent from your own address. If, for example, you happen to download an important email on your home computer and want to forward it to your office computer, you'll need to use an alternative address that you can access at your office. This is because spammers often send emails where the sender and receiver addresses are identical.

It's a real pleasure to regain control over your inbox.



[Edited at 2008-11-08 20:22]

[Edited at 2008-11-08 20:23]


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 09:57
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My additional two cents Nov 8, 2008

Paul Cohen wrote:About a year ago, I found myself up to my ears in an ever-growing tsunami of spam. To solve this problem, I've subscribed to a special online filter service called spamarrest (www.spamarrest.com).


I'll check on this one. The problem of course is (as always) trust or in Latin "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes" - what happens if spamarrest gets hijacked. I guess by then it would be time to move to a new primary Email address. But ...

Hard to change identities. I have a friend whose last name used to Wankling. He changed it - and I can understand his reasons. My mail adress, however, so far has been nothing I would feel qualms about. And, d*mn it, it's mine. Except it attracts all kinds of crap...

Jose wrote: Every single day I get an erectile dysfunction meds ad from... myself!

Oh, my brothers in BS, ye suffer as well. One would expect that given all these gazillions of spam, the erectile problem would have been long solved by now - and, please note, that half of the human race does not have this problem and possibly has absolutely no need to see it solved...

So ... back to my basic message: PUUULEASE use bcc and not cc, whenever you Email more than one person.


[Edited at 2008-11-08 21:24]


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:57
French to English
Delosmail Nov 8, 2008

I've been using Delosmail for over a year now, and I'm really happy with it. Spam is under control now. It's on the expensive side, but worth it IMO.

And it does more than anti-spam... some really nice features that are especially suitable for small businesses and nomads.

The main disadvantage, no "text-only" option, and if your internet connection is down, you don't have access to your e-mail at all (unlike Outlook).


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Daniel Guibord
Canada
Local time: 03:57
English to French
+ ...
How can you have access to your email with Outlook if your Internet connection is down? Nov 8, 2008

How can you have access to your email with Outlook if your Internet connection is down?

Best way to kill spam is to change your email address.

(Get an email address with a number and change the number if you ever get spam to it - e.g., daniel7234@domain.com)

Best way to avoid spam in the future is to have an email address reserved specially for spam. You just give out that email address anytime you're not certain of the integrity of the party to whom you give it too.

Most ISPs provide some degree of spam filtering, all you need do is inquire to your ISP.

Dan


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:57
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Who guards the guards who guard the guards? Nov 9, 2008

Vito Smolej wrote:

The problem of course is (as always) trust or in Latin "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes" - what happens if spamarrest gets hijacked. I guess by then it would be time to move to a new primary Email address.


I guess by then it would be time to move to a new planet!

P.S. Just received an email forwarded from a friend, saying in part:

"By now, I suspect everyone is familiar with www.snopes.com and/or www.truthorfiction.com for determining whether information recieved via email is just that: true/false or fact/fiction. Both are excellent sites.

From the folks that understand best......Read and heed. Use or lose

Advice from Snopes.com MEMORIZE THIS!

1) Any time you see an E-Mail that says forward this on to '10' of your friends, sign this petition, or you'll get bad luck, good luck, or whatever, it almost always has an E-Mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and E-Mails of those folks you forward to. The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' E-Mails addresses to use in SPAM E-Mails, or sell to other spammers...."

But my friend who forwarded it commented:

"Very interesting and I am sure quite true, I will be trying not to forward emails of this type in the future....... maybe this is one of them!"

I hope his suspicions are unjustified!


[Edited at 2008-11-09 08:59]


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:57
English to Polish
+ ...
The best solution by far Nov 9, 2008

Daniel Guibord wrote:

How can you have access to your email with Outlook if your Internet connection is down?


For Outlook 2003: email settings, go to the second dialogue, click "more settings", click on the "connection" tab, tick "connect by modem if Outlook is offline")

You need a good ol' telephone modem for that obviously. Most (all?) laptops have one. You have to buy one for your desktop.
I kept mine from the good old days. I use it once in a blue moon, when my usual service provider crashes or to receive or send a fax (yes, it still happens sometimes). You don't even need to install fax software, because it's part of Windows XP.

Best way to avoid spam in the future is to have an email address reserved specially for spam. You just give out that email address anytime you're not certain of the integrity of the party to whom you give it too.


This is the best advice possible.
I use my yahoo address exclusively for registering at websites, ebay, amazon, chat rooms etc. (and yes, even Proz),
My private address is spam free, so far.

Also, like the flu, spam comes and goes. My yahoo address used to get up to a hundred spam emails a day (don't ask me, I don't visit those sites!)
Then they suddenly disappeared. Now I get two or three spam emails a day. Sometimes I don't get any.

Cheers,
Pawel Skalinski

[Edited at 2008-11-09 10:01]


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Paul Cohen  Identity Verified
Greenland
Local time: 05:57
German to English
+ ...
Change your email address? No, stand your ground and fight the spammers! Nov 9, 2008

Daniel Guibord wrote:

Best way to kill spam is to change your email address.

(Get an email address with a number and change the number if you ever get spam to it - e.g., daniel7234@domain.com)

Best way to avoid spam in the future is to have an email address reserved specially for spam. You just give out that email address anytime you're not certain of the integrity of the party to whom you give it too.



Yes, by all means, you can change your email address once a month and avoid getting spam. Yes, you can become an email nomad who changes addresses as he wanders throughout cyberspace. But how are your contacts supposed to keep track of you? And what if you have the "perfect" email address that you want to keep for all eternity, like "Daniel@Guibord.com" or "Vito@Smolej.net"? If you have an email address that partly consists of a long number that changes on a regular basis, it will be hard for people to keep track of you. There is definitely something to be said for standing your ground, sticking with your guns and fighting the spammers.

By the way, Daniel, I also have an alternative email address that I use just for ordering things online, etc. Yes, it's a good idea to keep your business correspondence separate from your subscription to the BBC and your Democracy Now updates, etc.

I also have yet a third email address. This one is "unprotected" and has never received any spam. It's an address that I use for making sure that I have a copy of important emails. I am the only one who has ever used it and nobody else knows about its existence. This was a revelation for me. It's really very simple. Just stop sending emails to other people and tell no one about your email address and you'll be perfectly safe!

Even better, let's all unplug our computers from the Internet and become unemployed hermits. Ahh, safe at last!!

I think it's important NOT to constantly change your email address. The whole point of keeping a long-term email address is to make it possible for old contacts to find you again.

And what happens if your online spam filter is hijacked, as Vito asked? Then you're in big trouble because the hijackers also have access to all your email addresses. Who guards the guards? Supposedly, the spam filter site that I use is "hijack-proof" and constantly monitored.

Let's keep our fingers crossed...


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Samantha Payn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:57
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Bag it and bin it Nov 9, 2008

I bin all spam without reading it. I empty my delete folder every time I close my mail programme. I put everything I may want to keep but don't want cluttering up my inbox in a "Save it" folder for later consideration.
it gives me great satisfaction to hit the delete X and know that the rubbish gets thrown out of the delete folder once a day, too!
Samantha


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:57
French to English
Outlook Nov 10, 2008

Daniel Guibord wrote:

How can you have access to your email with Outlook if your Internet connection is down?

Best way to kill spam is to change your email address.



I mean that once you have downloaded your e-mail with Outlook, the messages in the inbox and sent box can still be displayed even when offline. Of course you can't send anything until your Internet connection comes back, but you can still continue to write e-mails and save them.

Delosmail is entirely web-based. Everything is online. You don't have access to *anything* at all if the Internet connection is down. It's the major disadvantage.

Changing your e-mail address to kill spam? That wasn't an option for us. Our "main" e-mail address is printed on numerous catalogues and business cards around the world, and has not changed in the last ten years. We get customers all the time that find our contact details on a 10-year-old catalogue! Or from the product instructions booklet etc. How would they find us if we changed our well-known e-mail address?

There are other ways to handle spam.


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:57
Japanese to English
MailWasher Pro is a good program Nov 10, 2008

I bought MailWasher Pro years ago, and I've been using it ever since. It really catches the spam and deals with it effectively.

Paying a small annual fee for a proper email address where the major spammers are caught by the provider also saves you a lot of wasted time and frustration in looking at spam.


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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:57
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
Server side filters Nov 10, 2008

Your e-mail provider should have server site filters, such as a white list (e-mail addresses and domains always allowed), black list - always deleted on the server, and spam - messages sent to the server side spam folder so that you can review them later to see if a valid message landed there).

Both my e-mail addresses have such filters. Through one of them that I set up about 1 year ago, not a single spam message got through. A lot of spam is sent to the other address, but the server side filter allows me to block the domain, but the domain name (the part after the @ character) is often forged, so I can also look at the 'Received' headers to track the IP address of the originator and block it instead.

As for the most obstinate spam, I also complain (for example, when my own e-mail address is in the From field!). I find e-mail address of the company that manages the network wherefrom the spam originated, and I forward the attached SPAM to them, putting the word ABUSE on the subject line. If the complaint does not bounce, it means that it got through, hopefully (Well, it may also be filtered out to their SPAM folder ...)

Regards,

Piotr

P.S. And I don't use Outlook. Honestly, not the best of solutions for handling your e-mails, IMHO.


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:57
French to English
server side filters Nov 10, 2008

The problem with the French ISP we had was related to their server side filter.

Their filter would designate suspected spam with the [SPAM] header, and you could either view the spam in a separate folder, or just in the regular inbox (but only when logged in to their webmail).

The problem was that anything with the [SPAM] header could no longer be downloaded to an e-mail client (such as Outlook, or any others) nor redirected to another e-mail address.

This resulted in "real" messages getting mistakenly labelled as spam, and us never knowing about it because we weren't in the habit of checking the webmail on a daily basis. It was really not convenient to have to check webmail and sift through the spam (hundreds per day) to check that no "real" messages had been blocked.

Their "whitelist" feature did not always work either. Whitelisted addresses were still getting blocked.


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