Spam (Family Safety)
Spam refers to messages, usually sent via email, which are not requested, usually unwanted, and almost always selling something. They are quite often offensive in nature.
Spam is a very effective mass marketing mechanism for distributors to use - it is free, since they don't pay any postage, and it is effective, since people continue to fall for the scams perpetrated through spam. According to a January 2008 study, spam comprises 63.28% of all email. In other words, over half of the messages you receive every day are unsolicited, unwanted junk that is difficult, if not impossible, to regulate in an effective manner. We don’t ask for it, and we have no idea what the message will actually contain. While there are some laws that attempt to regulate spam, it is very difficult to track down the purveyors of this content. The images and information in the messages can often be extremely explicit and completely inappropriate.
Tips and suggestions
- Most email services have a spam protection feature. These are very accurate, and do a great job of removing spam from your inbox. Make use of this feature.
- Spam proliferates because people react to it. If you receive unsolicited, unwanted email, just delete it - don't click on any link or run any application that appears as part of the message. Often, even though there will be a link to "unsubscribe", it is really just a link for the spammers to track whether the message was opened by a live person. Clicking on such a link could actually increase the amount of spam that you receive rather than decrease it, since "confirmed" email addresses are shared among spammers as part of a new trend called e-mail harvesting. Deleting the message and ignoring any links or attachments is the best course of action.
- Email Security Statistics, IEInternet.com, January 2008
For additional information
- E-mail Spam, by Larry Richman, Posted June 8th, 2009