Secrets, Lies & Chat

Monday, August 23, 2004

An Update on Spam Attacks - 23 August 2004

Spam Update
23 August 2004

Copyright 2004 Vena McGrath

Since my last blast at spam mail I experienced a period of relative freedom from it due to the closure of one of Telstra’s ports. The lessening of spam mail was astounding, and a great relief. Once I started to think about the amount of spam I was receiving daily and the content of most of it, I began to become neurotic about it, and what started out as an annoyance, became bigger than Ben Hur.

Damn, the peace ended, and abruptly two weeks ago. The spam mail changed from pornographic and content about viagra and penis enlargements to gambling sites. Suddenly I was inundated with at the very least 20 mails a day from casino sites and affiliated companies. I was offered thousands of dollars to gamble with, thousands of dollars worth of merchandise free, except for the cost of postage US$. The majority of the offers were for US citizens only. When are these spammers going to realise that an ‘au’ address means Australia? Oh, and invitations by young women to chat with them online; the invitations included scantily clad pictures of them and ‘come on’ text.

I began to get suspicious. I had purchased online a computer from Dell Australia, a computer made in China. Everything was above board with the purchase; they kept in contact with me via email and phone and the computer eventually arrived by courier, all intact. I should add here I was more than happy with the purchase and delivery of the computer. This spam mail, the new lot, didn’t start arriving until I had the new computer up and running a couple of days. I wondered about this, was there a connection? My mind started thinking up scenarios; there was something built into my new computer that allowed them to track me or else Dell had sold or released my email address to these groups. I asked a friend of mine to have a look at a few of them and they all appeared to be coming from the same places, and he managed to find me an email address to write to.

I noted that some of the mail said that as I was registered as a member of winsweepstakes.net they were sending me mail as per my agreement to accept mail from affiliated sponsors. I have never been a member of any online gambling site. So once again my mind began making up stories – Chinese computer/gambling/spam mail. I decided to send an email to the address I had been given and I warned these people if they didn’t refrain from filling my mailbox up with spam I would report them to the federal authorities in Australia and the US. Some of the mail also was coming from the UK and Europe. I then wrote to Dell and hinted that I had a feeling they either had installed something on my new computer that allowed these people to locate me or else they had sold my email address. I let them know in no uncertain terms I was most disturbed and annoyed by the prospect. Of course I heard nothing back from either and the emails kept arriving.

Yesterday morning I logged in, downloaded my mail; 29 spam emails all from gambling and affiliated sites. I spat the dummy when one of the emails was an offer for a free spam filter! A spam filter from a spammer? This was fast becoming ridiculous and there didn’t appear to be an answer other than ride it out until they became sick of sending me mail I didn’t respond to. Then I remembered an email from BigPond about extras I could make use of, for an additional monthly charge, of course. The fact that I pay $50 for Broadband Cable, with I might add limited downloads/uploads, doesn’t count. Extras are just that with BigPond.

I went to the BigPond homepage and read up on the spam filter and decided for $2.50 a month it was worth a trial and I signed up there and then. Almost instantly the spam mail ceased; I missed it – I kid of course; I was delighted. I wondered where it had gone; as usual I only half read the information and just went for broke. Tonight I went back to the homepage and re-read the information and found my spam mail in my web mailbox. 34 of them for the last 24 hours. All rated 93% to 100% spam! Oh how wonderful peace is in my Outlook Express mailbox. $2.50 a month well spent.

So all of you suffering from spam attack visit the BigPond homepage and read about the spam filter. It is far superior to one I trialled some time ago where all my mail went to the spam filter and I had to sort it out so I didn’t lose the mail I wanted to keep. The BigPond spam filter only isolates known spammers and luckily for me all of my pesky visitors of late are known spammers.

Peace reigns over my mailbox and I’m smiling.


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