Video: Avoid spam and online scams

By Senior producer
updated 11/22/2006 5:24:08 PM ET 2006-11-22T22:24:08

‘Tis the season for spam and online scams—don’t end up a turkey.

In the past year, spam campaigns have doubled.  Last month alone, 63 billion junk mail messages were sent, compared to about 31 billion in October of 2005.  Most of the emails contain medical advertisements for things like male enhancement—so if you have received one of those, don’t take it personally. 

Spam is basically junk mail that gets delivered to your e-mail inbox.  With snail mail, you can just toss it in the trash can.  Of course you can delete unwanted e-mails, but sometimes that isn’t enough.  And, lately I receive so much spam that I would deleting all day long if I hadn’t taken some proactive steps to control it.

There really is no magic bullet for spam, but the first thing you need to do is set up a filter.  Most of the Internet service providers either do it for you automatically or allow you to enable the feature on your inbox.

Next, while it seems obvious, do not respond to unsolicited emails, even if just to click “Remove me from this list.”  That option is a trap set to get you to acknowledge that a real email address has been found.  There will be no end to the spam if you respond.

I was just reading up on disposable e-mail addresses.  It sounds very James Bond—an email alias that covers your real identity and can cut down on the junk. Check out the sites and to learn more.

One last warning, this holiday season spammers may target your children.  There’s a new scam out there, emails with the subject line “Letter from Santa.”

Let your child know not to respond to those letters.  After all, Santa doesn’t e-mail.  He’s very old fashioned.

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