Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Read the article that everyone's commenting on.
Thank you, Leo, for verifying something I had suspected for quite some time. We are always told not to open unidentified, suspicious or otherwise questionable links that arrive in our email. Unfortunately, the emphasis stops there. This is the first confirmation I've seen that extends that admonition to avoid those links any- and everywhere. Thanks again for providing some very useful advice.
Great adavise to this articicle.the main reason I use MailWasher,lets me delete,bounce from server so not to ever reach my in box. would not be without it,have used it for several years and it works great,I use the free version by the way. Thank you for all your help.
Oh, my god. This article is more helpful than any tech article I've read in years. I wish I'd known years ago about the above-described washing technique that spammers use. I too had hitherto thought that copying a URLs from an email and pasting it into a browser window - as per apparent conventional wisdom - protected me from being driven to a spammer's site AND safeguarded my anonymity. Yikes.
Leo, if you have a canonical ten or twenty Ask Leo columns, I think the "How did I get subscribed to this dating service?" article should be among them. Well done and thank you!
***** / 5 [ five stars out of five ]
Good advice, Leo. But for those with insatiable curiosity, they can still investigate WITHOUT giving away their identity. If they do a Google search (or any other search engine) for just the website (somerandomservice.com), they can find out about it without exposing their e-mail address. And if they look at even the first ten to twenty results or so, they can get a feel for how many people are complaining about it before they go there from the search engine. And hopefully the search results will have been enough to cool their curiosity. Thanks for all your good advice!
My sympathies to those that receive relentless spam. I have a few email accounts. My first one, and my first time on the internet with my personal PC, has never received any spam in the 5 years I've used it. I account this to being quite cautious [actually, terrified] over the years. I still protect this one gem as if my life was hanging in the balance. This has to stand as a testament to a prudent and cautious use of an email account.
Of course, over the years I've acquired throw-away and social accounts of less concern.
Not a bad idea to read a link that Leo has provided on this page, titled "How Do I Know This Web Address Is Safe?" He explains the construction of a web address (link). Somewhere else on Ask Leo, I saw where anything after the ? (question mark) can register certain information about YOU and use that for their benefit.
If you're unsure about the validity of a link, when you copy and paste in your browser, make sure to delete anything after the .html part, such as question marks, codes, etc. That way, you can get an idea about what the site is, without releasing specifically collected information about yourself.
If it won't let you proceed without the extra detail (such as Permission Denied, or webpage cannot be loaded), then forget them. They're too devious to trust.
The only reliable way I found for that is:
1. Delete the e-mail address that was spammed. Never use it again. and
2. Format your hard drive (if it were only one or two computers you were using) and reload the programs from their original media and add your data from a FULLY CLEANED (SCANNED BY SOMETHING LIKE FREE McAfee Stinger latest available version, from the Internet).
This is exactloy what I did in a similar situation. It was a simple change for example instead of First.Second@ISP.Com change to First-Second@ISP.Com Inform your contacts of this change. I also changed the password to this account using a combination of special characters if your system allows it. If the password was for example A1B7C8D6 change it to A@9c#6l1iQ notice the i, l and 1 look very close and are not likely copied rightly by spyworks. Having upper, lower case with numbers and sopecial characters makes it very difficlult to guess.
@ Notme, I see a problem with deleting - and by that, I assume you mean "relinquishing" - an email address that has been spammed. Once you relinquish an email address, anyone can assume it and then send spam (or worse) in your name. Perhaps consider keeping the account active, but don't use it if you don't want to ...
When I receive an email that looks questionable, I don't open it but instead I right click on it and click on "Properties" and then on "Advanced" and then on "Message Source".
From there it shows all (most all the time) the information about that email. Would this still be like opening that message?
The message source is a text file and viewing it should be safe as long as you don't click on any of the links in case your message source viewer displays them as hyperlinks.
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