Have you seen a rash of spoofs in your incoming email of late? I certainly have.
Spam is on the increase. I thought it was just me but my daughter, working in a corporate environment, said they’re being hit, too. What’s at the root of it? Lord knows. My personal theory is that there are a whole lot of people without work right now. They’re looking for solutions to financial desperation and are falling prey to the wide variety of get-rich-quick schemes and work-from-home programs that are inundating the internet right now.
There’s big money in names and contact information. No, this isn’t new. This process of buying and selling names and contact information is as old as direct mail marketing. The market is strong and growing by leaps and bounds. If you study internet marketing any at all, you’ve heard countless times that the money’s in the list. Those who want to get rich quick buy their lists from list brokers and other marketers who have collected contact information, usually in those nefarious popups. And, once you’re email is out there, it takes on a life of its own.
Be that as it may, in addition to the basic spam email, I’ve also started getting countless emails that are sent to me from — me!
If this is happening to you, don’t panic. The thing about email is that it can be set up so that the from field is anything you want it to be…even the address of the person you’re sending the mail to. There’s not much you can do about that. The problem is you can’t treat these emails like you do all other spam. If you blacklist these emails by simply adding the email to your junk mail list – you’re blacklisting your own email address and that could prove to be tragic.
I’m sure you can probably purchase solutions for this kind of thing. And, if you want to be pro-active you can check out https://www.spamcop.net/ and https://www.spamhaus.org/ But there are some things you can do for yourself, too.
Simply change your email address. That’s right, delete the old one and set up a new one. This is pretty drastic – especially if you’re out there job searching or if you’ve been actively working with large numbers of people for a number of years. That said, it may be worth considering.
But, if you’re like me, that’s really not particularly practical.
With some research, I found another solution that is somewhat time-consuming but, so far, it’s allowing me to get ahead of the curve:
Step one of the process is to download the free MailWasher (https://www.mailwasher.net/) There’s both a free version and a Pro version that can be purchased. Take the time to teach the program which mail you want and which you don’t want. The sooner you get started, the better.
Step two is addressing the bogus mail that looks like it’s sent from your own address. Remember your address is a “friend”. You want to block the real sender. To do that you need to see the header of the email. Any email program will allow you to view the headers. Each program is different. In Outlook I open the email, which is ok if you have a good virus scanner. (I use AVG but there are a number of good ones out there.) With the email opened, I click on “View” in the menu bar and select “Options”. This opens the header showing the IP address of the sender. That will look like this: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
NOT AN OPTION:
Never, ever try to unsubscribe from or reply to what is clearly spam mail. Once you reply, assuming that the mail actually goes through, you’ve confirmed that your email is live and you can expect to receive a whole lot more email in the future.
While mailing lists are here to stay and they’re morphing to accommodate the newest trends in communication, we don’t have to be victims, Yes, we can fight email spoofs. But vigilance is important.