OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today provided tips on how computer users can help cut down on spam.
The recent arrest of “Spam King” Robert Alan Soloway by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle came as a relief to many consumers and those in the tech security community. Soloway is accused of sending millions of spam messages and faces 35 criminal counts, including aggravated identity theft.
But many other spammers are still out there attempting to infiltrate our inboxes. Unscrupulous marketers clog up servers with junk ads. Identity thieves target your e-mail account with phishing scams that appear to come from your bank. Cons claiming to be wealthy foreigners plead for your assistance in transferring funds.
Actuality 1 (18 seconds): Don’t be scammed by spammers. If an e-mail offer seems too good to be true, report it to your Internet Service Provider, the Federal Trade Commission and our office. Then delete that e-mail. And if you're tempted to give junk-mail senders a piece of your mind, don't. By replying to them, you become a target for more spam.
Actuality 2 (25 seconds): Spammers obtain your e-mail address through a variety of methods, including buying contacts from a list broker, “harvesting” addresses from the Internet and simply guessing. As spammers become more sophisticated at disguising their identities and develop new tactics to slip past filters, it becomes increasingly difficult to block all unwanted messages. But you can reduce the amount of spam you receive by taking precautions.
Actuality 3 (23 seconds): Make it tough to find your e-mail address online. Choose an address spammers can’t easily guess. Create a separate account for shopping and chat rooms from the one you use for personal messages. And read privacy policies to ensure that information you transmit over the Internet won’t be sold to marketers. Also, set your software to filter unwanted messages to a separate folder and don’t reply to senders you don’t recognize.
Actuality 4 (13 seconds): If you must display your e-mail address on your own Web site or blog, you can encode it so that visitors who want to send you an email can see it, but not spambots – those programs designed to collect e-mail addresses from the Internet.
For more tips and information on where to report spam, read McKenna’s latest Ask the AG column at www.atg.wa.gov/askcolumn.aspx.
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Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Seattle Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432