Spam, Junk Mail and Unwanted Email: Resources for Protection Yourself

Email Spam

What is Spam?

Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems (mainly email) to send unsolicited bulk messages to multiple people simultaneously.  While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media such as: Instant messaging, Newsgroups, Search engines, in blogs, Wikis, Online classified ads, Mobile phone messaging, Internet forums, Junk fax transmissions and Social networking.

E-mail spam today is usually sent via “zombie networks”, which are networks of virus- or worm-infected personal computers in homes and offices around the planet.  Many modern worm viruses install a “backdoor” that allows spammers to access computers and use them for malicious purposes, such as to send unwanted messages. This complicates attempts to control the spread of these unwanted messages, as in many cases the message doesn’t even originate from the spammer.

What is a Spammer?

A spammer is a person who sends unwanted email. Usually, these are people who think that they are going to get rich on the Internet by flooding inboxes with unwanted email messages and hoping for a response. They often do get a response. However, the response is from outraged people who receive the unwanted email and complain to the ISP of the spammer, which usually gets the offenders dial-in accounts, email addresses, and/or web pages removed. Instead of deleting, become one of those who fight the garbage. Just try fighting

Resources for Reporting and Combating

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – This website has information about the Federal Trade Commission’s recent law enforcement actions against deceptive commercial email and emailers responsibilities under the CAN-SPAM law. In the “For Consumers” section, you’ll find tips on how to reduce the amount of trash email in your in-box.
  • FTC – Forward unsolicited commercial e-mail to the Commission at [email protected]
  • CAUCE – Coalition Against Unwanted Commercial E-mail – CAUCE North America was formed in March 2007 from a merger between CAUCE US, and CAUCE Canada, combining the strengths of the two organizations.  An all-volunteer consumer advocacy organization, has moved beyond its original mission of encouraging the creation and adoption of anti-spam laws to a broader stance of defending the interests of the average Internet user. ed by a combined Board with a cumulative century of experience in the field of Internet advocacy
  • Federal Communications Commission – Many consumers find unsolicited e-mail to be annoying and time-consuming. In addition, unwanted messages sent to wireless phones and other wireless devices can be intrusive and costly. In 2003, Congress enacted the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act to curb it. As required by the Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules that prohibit sending unwanted commercial e-mail messages to wireless devices without prior permission. This ban took effect in March 2005. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) adopted detailed rules that restrict sending unwanted commercial e-mail messages to computers.
  • Internet Education Foundation Tips – Do you feel like you are getting more and more e-mail from unwanted sources everyday? Unwanted commercial e-mail (UCE) can be an annoying, costly and time-consuming problem for many consumers. Follow the below Tips, use the Tools and, when necessary, Take Action to help alleviate unwanted e-mails in your inbox.
  • SpamAgent Software –  The latest in email monitoring technology. It is a powerful email monitoring and filtering software tool that allows you to filter your inbox and get the email you want – and nothing more.
  • The Project is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to track the Internet’s operations, to provide dependable realtime protection for Internet networks, to work with Law Enforcement Agencies to identify and pursue offenders worldwide, and to lobby governments for effective legislation.


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