Dealing with SPAM

We are currently evaluating systems to block SPAM before it reaches your mailbox. Despite our best efforts, you will continue to received some e-mail messages you didn't ask for. Here's what you should do about all that junk.

  • Delete junk e-mail messages without opening them. Sometimes even opening spam can alert spammers or put an unprotected computer at risk.

  • Don't reply to spam unless you're certain that the message comes from a legitimate source. This includes not responding to such messages that offer an option to "Remove me from your list."

  • Do not “unsubscribe” unless the mail is from a known or trusted sender.

  • Don't give personal information in an e-mail or instant message. It could be a trick. Most legitimate companies won't ask for personal information by e-mail.
    If a company you trust, such as your credit card company or bank, appears to ask for personal information, check into it further. Call the company using a number you retrieve yourself from the back of your credit card, a bill, phone book, or the like-not a number from the e-mail message. If it's a legitimate request, the company's customer service department should be able to help you.

  • Think twice before opening attachments or clicking links in e-mail or instant messages, even if you know the sender. If you cannot confirm with the sender that an attachment or link is safe, delete the message.
    If you must open an attachment that you're less than sure about, save it to your hard disk first so that your antivirus software can check it before you open it.

  • Don't buy anything or give to any charity promoted through spam. Spammers often swap or sell the e-mail addresses of those who have bought from them, so buying something through spam may result in even more spam.
    Spammers make their living (and a lucrative one, too) on people's purchases of their offerings. Resist the temptation to buy products through spam, and help to put spammers out of business.
    Criminals use spam to prey on people's desire to help others. If you receive an e-mail request from a charity you'd like to support, call the organization directly to find out how to contribute.

  • Don't forward chain e-mail messages. Not only do you lose control over who sees your e-mail address, but you also may be furthering a hoax or aiding in the delivery of a virus.
    There are reports that spammers start chain letters expressly to gather e-mail addresses. If you don't know whether a message is a hoax or not, a site like Hoaxbusters can help you separate fact from fiction.

Note: It can be troubling to receive spam from what appears to be your own account. Your first suspicion may be that someone has hacked into your account to send you mail-or worse, send others e-mail that is allegedly from you.

The truth is these fears are not likely to be real. More likely, a spammer has forged the headers (which include your e-mail address) to lend authenticity to their junk e-mail, and also potentially help the message bypass some e-mail filters.

We encourage you to take the test below to check your knowledge of spam and phishing.