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Email and Spam
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10 Codes
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North Florida Frequencies
Aircraft Animations
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Big Shoals
Florida Caverns
Steven Foster State Park
Suwannee Lake
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Spirit of Suwannee
Hillsborough River State Park
Antique Tractor Show -2006
Antique Tractor Show -2007
Critter Cam
White Oak Rat Snake
Baby Goats
776 Tactical Airlift Squadron
American Legion Post 107
Painted Oaks Transport
Preparing For Hurricanes
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Keeping Spam to a Minimum

Spam is unwanted email. It is sent out by electronic mail to your inbox. There are several things you can do to keep spam under control. The most important thing is to keep the spammers from getting your email address. Many of the web sites you visit will want your email address. Some will not let you continue unless you give it to them. Never give your primary email address to a web site. That is where the spammers get most of their addresses. Only give your primary email address to trusted friends, family, and those you conduct business with. Never respond to a spam message. This only lets the spammer know that yours is a viable email address. Some spam messages offer a link where you can click to unsubscribe. Do not click it. This will let the spammers know that you at least looked at their spam. They will then send you more. You can obtain secondary email addresses to give to the web sites if you must visit them. Use one or two of the free web based email addresses for this purpose. Most of the mail you get in these secondary email addresses will be spam and you can just block delete it. If there is too much spam coming into a secondary email address, simply close it down and open another one. Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) offer email filtering. The filters will trap most of the spam and you can delete it before it jams up your inbox. Some spam will get through, but very little. If you are already getting too much spam, about the only thing you can do is close the email account and open a new one under a different user name.

Scanning Email Attachments

Here are a few suggestions to help prevent you from opening an infected email attachment. Don't open any attachments from people you don't know and check attachments from people you do know. A virus could have gotten on your friend's computer and sent itself to you.

Set up an attachment checking folder. You should have an empty folder in My Documents where you can drop any email attachments you receive. Never open the attachments in your email program (if you open them at all). Name the empty folder anything you want (mine is named Dropzone) and keep it empty if possible. You don't want to go looking through 100 files for the last attachment you dropped there. Delete the attachments when you finish with them or move them to another folder. When you have made your new folder, go to it with your Windows Explorer and click on Tools / Folder Options. Click the View tab and remove the check mark from the entry for Hide Extension for Known File Types. This will allow you to see the full file name, with extensions, for files in your new folder. Click the Apply Button. Now click on the folder display options (VIEWS) icon of the toolbar and select DETAILS. This will make all files display the full details including full file name with extension.

Now you can start dropping attachments in your new folder.Don't move the entire email, just the attachment. Click the paperclip, top right corner of the message, on the center bar. A drop down will open. Don't click the attachment numbers. Click on Save Attachment, then Browse to find the folder you made and hit Save. The attachment will be saved to your attachment folder. Unless you change it, your attachments will be saved to the same place each time. After the first time you save, there should be no need to browse each time. You can go through all your emails and save the attachments as you go, then check them all at one time, but use caution. Some attachments may have the same name and you could overwrite one. If you are not using Outlook Express, the attachments can usually be saved by right clicking on the attachment name and choosing the Save or Save As option.

Now to check the attachments. Hit Start / My Documents / Attachment Folder Name to get to it and perform the checks. When you check them, first look at the filename extension. If it ends with .exe , .vbs , .bat , .pif, or .scr you might wish to reconsider opening it. Also beware of zipped files. These are the file types that are most often used to carry virses. After you check the file type, highlight the filename and hit the anti-virus scan button. With some AV you may have to right click the file name and select Scan with Anti Virus. Look carefully at the scan report to be sure there is no infection. If no infection is found it is time to open the attachment. If you do find any infection, delete the attachment immediately without opening it, then dump the Recycle Bin. Also go back to your email program and double delete (delete then delete again from the deleted emails file) the email which carried the attachment.

While this looks like a lot of trouble, once you get set up and in the habit of using this method, it is simple. Just think how much trouble it would be if your computer got a virus.

Phishing Emails

Phishing is an email scam which attempts to get people to reveal their bank account or credit card information by email. Thousands of phishing emails are sent out by spam mail and if only a few respond, these will be used to withdraw money from the victims accounts or set up identity theft schemes. In some cases the phishing emails will contain a virus which infects the victims computer and returns account information to the criminals. Some of the phishing viruses might even load a key logger to gather information.

Never open email attachments from suspect financial institutions. The emails might include a link to click on and respond. Don't click it. If the financial institution is one you do not do business with, it is most likely a phishing email. If it appears to be from your own bank or credit card company, do not respond to the email. Contact your bank or credit card company at their own web site. Don't use any of the addresses from the suspected phishing email. Use contact information (web or email address) from your own records. It would be best to place a phone call to the bank or credit card company using a known phone number (not a phone number found in the suspected phishing email). A bank or credit card company would not normally ask you to confirm your account number or credit card number by email. Be very cautious in responding to any email and never give account numbers or credit card numbers unless you initiated the contact and it is with a trusted company.

If any account information is stored on your computer it should be encrypted. It would be best to store the account information on a removable disc (floppy or CD) and remove it from the drive any time it is not in use. Use the same caution with storing social security numbers and other personal information. Extreme caution is in order when conducting business on the Internet. The criminals are very clever and you must not be taken in by their schemes.

Hoax Email

Some people write a lot of emails and other people just forward a lot. Some of the email you get will be cute or funny and you will want to send it to friends. Everything that comes into the "In Box" does not need to be forwarded and some of it should not be forwarded. There are a lot of hoax emails making the rounds. Some of them have been in circulation for years. Many of them contain just enough of the truth to be believable. They are usually something you would like to believe. Some of them contain doctored pictures. Some of the hoax emails can do real damage. There are virus hoax emails in circulation which try to get people to delete essential parts of their operating system. Don't be gullible and help spread lies. It not only clutters up people's mail boxes, it slows down the Internet to have millions of meaningless emails making the rounds. If you get an email which tells about a deal that is too good to be true or tells some story on a celebrity, check it out before forwarding it. You can type a couple of the key words into a search engine and get some facts. That is not saying everything on the Internet is fact either. Be selective in gathering information. If an email asks you to send money to a stranger, don't fall for it. The scam artists know just how to write stories about cute 5 year old girls in need of an operation. There are hoax emails in circulation about nationally known companies and some terrible thing they have done. During an election year millions of hoax emails go out about the politicians. Don't forward an email which could be a hoax and damage some person or company's reputation without first doing a little research on it. There are several websites which deal with hoaxes. Most of them have search functions on their home page to help you quickly find the information you are looking for. Type two or three key words in the search box and hit Enter. These websites also contain information that is true. If it has been circulated in an email, there is a good chance it can be found on one of the hoax websites. While on the subject of forwarding email, if you must forward it, clean it up first. Nobody likes to get mail with seven "greater than" symbols on each line. There is a free EMail Stripper available which will quickly and easily remove all the > > > > > > > from your email. The new version is called GAIA Tidy Mail and is still a free download.

Symantec Hoax Page
About Internet Hoaxes
How To Spot An Email Hoax
Hoax Busters
Don't Spread That Hoax
Truth Miners

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Graywolf / 2004