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Take Preventive Steps

Email spam is not just unwanted; it can be offensive. Decrease the number of spam emails you receive by making it difficult for spammers to get and use your email address:

  • Don't use an obvious e-mail address, such as JaneDoe@isp.com. Instead use numbers or other digits, such as Jane4oe6@isp.com.
  • Use one e-mail address for close friends and family and another for everyone else.
  • Don't post your e-mail address on a public web page. Spammers use software that harvests text addresses. Substitute "jane4oe6 at isp.com" for "jane4oe6@isp.com", or display your address as a graphic image, instead of the text.
  • Don't enter your address on a website before you check its privacy policy.
  • Uncheck any check boxes. Otherwise, you may be giving permission for the website and its partners permission to contact you.
  • Don't click on an e-mail's "unsubscribe" link unless you trust the sender. This action tells the sender you are there.
  • Never forward chain letters, petitions or virus warnings. All could be a spammer's trick to collect addresses.
  • Disable your e-mail "preview pane." This stops spam from reporting to its sender that you've received it.
  • Choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that filters e-mail. If you get lots of spam, your ISP may not be filtering effectively.
  • Use spam-blocking software. Web browser software often includes free filtering options. You can also purchase software that will accomplish this task.
  • Report spam. Alert your ISP that spam is slipping through its filters. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also wants to know about "unsolicited commercial e-mail." Forward spam to spam@uce.gov.

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Text Message Spam

Spam text messages can be annoying, but did you know they are illegal? Some common scams use text message spam to lure you into revealing personal information in exchange for a “free gift”, like a gift card or vacation package.

Here's how it works: In order to collect your gift, the message will instruct you to reply to the text with your personal information such as a bank account or your social security number. The spammer may charge your bank account so you can claim your “free gift” that you will probably never receive. In certain situations, spammers then sell your personal information to outside parties, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft.

Take these steps to limit your chances of getting scammed:

  • Register your number on the National Do Not Call List.
  • Delete spams messages.
  • Never click on links provided in spam messages. Links often carry malware or send you to fake websites.
  • Never reply to these texts or give out your personal information.
  • Report the text spam to your cell phone carrier by forwarding the message to 7726 (SPAM).
  • Report any unwanted commercial text messages to the Federal Trade Commission.

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