Spam Attactics
(And a little on TELEMARKETING)

Are you getting 2, 3, 4 or more unsolicited advertising messages in your email everyday? We are all sick and tired of the growing business of SPAM in our email. As individuals, we will never be able to stop it ourselves, that will require government legislation that does not leave loopholes for spammers to slide through as we have now. I am referring to the disclaimers at the bottom saying that this mailing is not illegal spam because you can unsubscribe from it. Did you subscribe to receive it in the first place? In most cases you would think not but maybe you did without knowing it. In other cases, your email address was taken from some public record on the internet such as your website or host provider and illegally put on a mailing list by spammers.

Without new laws, we cannot stop the SPAM completely but you do not have to be victimized by these spammers excessively. There are some things you can do about it and on this page I will share with you what I have learned and used to avoid being a victim of Spam Attactics.


The first thing you have to know is how to avoid getting on spam lists in the first place. Whenever you sign up for almost anything on the internet where you are asked for your email address, you are risking your information being used for spam, be aware of this. When given the option of being sent publications, free gifts, and/or special offers, never check any of the checkboxes to receive anything in your email. Some of these checkboxes may already be checked for you, be sure to uncheck them all. If the site tells you that you must check at least one, then you have the choice of agreeing to be spammed, or you can back out and not do business with that site. That is one way you get on spam lists.

When using any commercial site and asked for you email address, always look for something like this:

  Yes, send me free gifts and special offers.

Be sure to uncheck this checkbox.

Registering at any commercial website makes you subject to spam. In some cases you can "opt out" of the mailing lists and in others, you don't have that option, your may have to write to, or call their customer service dept. and request to be removed from all mailing and calling lists.

I think the most important thing in avoiding getting on spam lists is awareness when ever you enter your email addy at a website. You have to think twice and ask yourself "is this going to get me on a spam list?". If you register at a greeting card site, that is a source of spam. Be sure you have the option at sign up to not receive any special offers or announcements or anything else in your email. Remember, nothing is free. Free websites are supported by advertising. If you think you will only get mail from that site, think again. These enterprises have partners who they will be sharing your personal information with. It's mostly their "partners" who will be spamming you. You have to tell them NOT TO SHARE YOUR INFORMATION or they will. The laws are written in reverse to benifit the advertisers. They are allowed to use your personal information without your permission until you tell them not to. This is know as "opt out". When we have laws requiring "opt in" instead, then advertisers will no longer have the legal right to violate our privacy by using our personal information for advertising purposes.

Another major source of email addresses for spammers is Yahoo! Groups. Yahoo! has granted themselves permission to use all Yahoo! Groups Address books as email addy lists for spammers. If you are on any of these group lists, you have to log in and "opt out" or you addy will be used for spam. If someone else has put you on their Yahoo! Group list, ask them to remove you from the list.

Hotmail has done it to you too. If you have a HOTMAIL account CLICK HERE for important information about your account.

DO NOT FORWARD CHAIN LETTERS! Click Here to find out why.


The same rules apply to spam as to telemarketing calls. Most of those have their source in your credit card companies. Banks that issue credit cards love to make money by selling your personal information to telemarketers. Telemarketers love this information because they know you have a credit card and can easily make purchases over the phone. Never let them even get started with their sales pitch. When they ask for you by name, first ask who is calling. They will usually identify themselves with a name and a financial institution that you may recognize. This will help you to know where they got your phone number and name. Immediately request to be taken off of their call list. When they acknowledge, then say thank you and hang up. NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM A TELEMARKETER. That will only encourage their annoying activities and mark you as a potential buyer for more calls. Contact your credit card carriers by mail or phone and request to be removed from all call and mailing lists. They must accomodate you by law. If they don't, you have legal grounds for a lawsuit. Be suspicious of other institutions from whom you get monthly billings as well. I was being hounded with telemarketing calls from affiliates of AT&T until I demanded they stop sharing and using my personal information for advertising purposes. Check all of your monthly billing statement envelopes for an enclosed "Privacy Notice". These are being sent with most major monthly billing statements now. This notice will tell you how to "opt out" of their mailing and call lists, and also give you the opportunity to tell them not to share your personal information with their partners who only want it to try to sell you something by phone or email or snail mail. Remember, it is illegal for advertisers to contact you with sales offers if you have told them not to. In other cases, these calls come from a computer generated call list based on known area codes and prefixes followed by sequental numbers (random calling). If you hear a recorded message just hang up. If it's a real person on the line then asked to be removed from the call list. Chances are, you will never hear from them again. I started doing this about 2 months ago and now I no longer get telemarketing calls on my phone.
In time, you will be able to avoid all telemarketing calls by simply signing up on a state wide "Do Not Call" list. Missouri legislation enacted just such a program on July 2001 and now just 10 months later, half of the phone numbers in the state are on the list. Any telemarketer calling a number on this list is subject to a $5000 fine. California has done the same thing and their program will go into effect on January 1, 2003. They will be taking sign ups well in advance of the effective date. If you live in California, watch your news for updates and sign up availability.

"I suppose some degree of commerce would grind to a halt if telephone solicitors weren't able to call people at home during the dinner hour.

But that doesn't make it any more pleasant. Now Steve Rubenstein, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, has proposed "Three Little Words" based on his brief experience in a telemarketing operation -- that would stop the nuisance for all time.   

      The three little words are "Hold on, please."

Saying this while putting down your phone and walking off instead of hanging up immediately -- would make each telemarketing call so time-consuming that boiler rooms would grind to a halt. When you eventually hear the phone company's beep-beep-beep tone, you know it's time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task.

This might be one of those articles you'll want to e-mail to your friends. Three little words that eliminate telephone soliciting:   "HOLD ON PLEASE" "


To deal with the problem you already have with the spam is not going to be easy but there is a few things you should know. First, NEVER REPLY OR WRITE TO THEM and NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM THEM. That only confirms that your email addy is valid and the mail at your addy is being read by a real person. If you click on an offer in the email, your addy may be sent to the site in a "cookie" and flagged as a potential buyer and sucker for more spam. That is what gets you on more lists because CONFIRMED email addy lists are worth money and will be sold to hundreds of spammers. There are internet companies in the business now of selling advertising through email and they send their spam to millions for a price. I get offers from them to send my message to a million people for $200 for example. There are now federal laws prohibiting "unsolicited email advertising" but they are allowed to get around them by offering a link at the bottom of the email to "opt out" of the mailing list and they claim it was sent to you because you signed up for it but you know damn well you didn't. They won't tell you where you signed up for it even if your did at some "partner" site. Unsolicited advertising in your email is now ILLEGAL but they are allowed to get away with it simply by adding a statement in the message saying "you requested it" and a link to be removed from the list. Unfortunately, that "Remove" or "Unsubscribe" link quite often does not even work and if it does, then quite often it only confirms your email addy and gets you on more lists. I read these unsubscribe messages very carefully before deciding whether or not to click it. If it just says that it will remove me from THIS list for further mailings, I will not go there and just delete the message. It would do no good to be removed from just that one list since the spam has already been delivered and I will never see that return address again anyway. Spam almost always comes from a different senders address on each mailing and there are hundreds of them. What good does it do to be removed from just one? Some of the disclaimer messages will tell you that by clicking the link, you will be removed from all mailing lists who subscribe to the "unsubscribe service". Those I will click on. Also, it might say that by clicking, you will be removed from all "Yahoo!" or other organizational' mass mailing lists. I clicked that one just the other day. More information on how to recognize which ones to unsubscribe to and which ones to delete will be covered on the next page.

If you are being flooded with spam most everyday here is my suggestion. Probably the most effective way to stop it would be to close that email account by going to your primary account settings for "other users" and selecting that user account. Click where it says "youraccount can receive email" to change it to "cannot receive email". This will cause the spam to bounce back to the sender and should cause and automatic removal of your addy from the list. While this box is closed, you might open another account with a similar addy for temporary use for a couple of months. Send the new addy to everyone on your mailing list and explain the reason for the change. After about 2 months, you could reopen the old account and it should be pretty much free of spam if you have been practicing the other suggestions on this page. Try allowing email to that account for a few days to see if the spam has stopped.

On the following page I have posted the spam "disclaimers" from the few spam mails I received last week. I am using them as examples and discussing what to look for in deciding whether to "unsubscribe" (Remove) or just delete..