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Devious Tricks used by Senders of Spam

Quite often, senders of spam assume that we are fools. It's worth knowing the tricks they use, so you know what to do about it. You can't stop spam, but you can stop buying from it! See philosophical methods versus spam. Also, if you know the devious tricks in use, you can avoid being fooled by them.

The first thing is, read your e-mail offline rather than online. Many spam messages have images hosted at a remote site, so the senders can tell if you have opened the message. If you read them offline, they can't tell! See about the preview pane. Whereas Microsoft Outlook Express is confuddled with Microsoft Internet Explorer and will obliviously open all images by default, Mozilla Thunderbird won't! You are given the option.

At least filter out all the spam messages offline first, before reading the genuine stuff online.

One of the devious tricks I've noticed in SPAM messages is the use of misleading subject lines. These say things like "Re: are you ignoring me?", "Fw: Did you say 8 o'clock?" and "Re: here's the site you said" and "Appointment/interview on Monday Morning 10 am" etc. These are designed to get you to open the message on the pretext it's something relevant. If anyone does this to you, don't buy from them! If it happened in the physical world you'd not let them get away with it! More about this: Spam Senders Make It Easy For Us

Another trick used in some spam e-mail is the attempted opening of a pop-up window. Some of these can fool some of the old Microsofty operating systems into filling a full screen and disabling the browser buttons. If anyone attempts this on your computer, don't buy from them. Instead, report them! Also see how to stop annoying pop-ups. Again, if you upgrade to Linux you can easily defeat this kind of nonsense.

The thing about this is, most spam is relatively harmless, but some of it isn't. If dirty tricks are used, then it needs to be reported. Many spam messages are not sent by the company being advertised, but by their affiliates. The people at actual company or at the marketing company are often very pleased to hear from you if you put a report in. Affiliate marketing companies generally disapprove of affiliates sending spam.

Another trick used in spam is to tell a lie about you having opted to receive the stuff. This is explored further in the page about the opt-in lie. I catch them out every time on this! I have separate e-mail addresses for opting in to things.

A variety of similar dodgy tricks can be seen in mortgage spam , including pretending they are "further to YOUR application" when you've never contacted them before and they are in fact complete strangers imposing on you.

Many of these tricks make spam easy to spot and so in various ways spam senders make it easy for us with a view to having a boycott on spam. This is working to some extent already as spam click-throughs have dropped to a miserably low rate. If anyone tells you that selling by e-mail marketing is the fastest growing thing ever, they're wrong. The only thing fast growing about e-mail marketing is people's hate of it. To get an idea how much people deplore e-mail marketing, see a cautionary tale about sending spam by an honest company caught up in the spam sending racket.

Especially beware of messages pretending to be from your bank or from PayPal or from eBay etc. These are usually Bank Hoaxes and are often easy to spot because they say "Dear customer", whereas if it really was from the bank they'd know your name and account info. (Knowing your name isn't enough).

On the name, be careful of messages coming in to your name. If you have an e-mail address which is made from your name, of the form frank.spencer@your-isp.net then don't be surprised if spam senders seem to be able to address you personally. It's much better to have a strange e-mail address, which often fools the spam harvesters into saying things like "Dear spam.dustbin, You have been chosen to win a prize!" etc. It's easy for a spam sending system to customise all the messages and to have a subject line of "Hey you Muggins! Look at this!", except that [muggins] has been cunningly replaced by your name.

If you catch anyone out by knowing these tricks, you know that they have not been entirely honest with you. In which case, you may wish to consider whether you trust them enough to buy from them!

My own view is to discourage bad practice, so don't buy from spam. However I generally don't report spam unless it's guilty of additional bad practices such as dishonesty. Spam is not the evil it's been made out to be, and it's only got a bad reputation because of bad practices, in the same sort of way that door-to-door sales techniques became thought of as bad.

Buy from places you like! I hope you like my website and you'll buy stuff from links on it. I've got a shopping portal and all sorts of categories here. I also tell you honestly how safe is buying online? But, although there's commercial content you have to look to find it. It's not hard sell, and it's not splat advertising.