[ad]Dear Computer Lady,
I read your column all the time and find it very informative.
In the last couple of months I have been inundated with unsolicited advertisements and spam mail. I have unsubscribed numerous time but it doesn’t seem to help.
Is there any recourse to take?
Also I noticed that most of this spam started when I subscribed to a couple of my doctors portals. Could they be sharing my info?
With all the HIPPA regulations, I really don’t think that your doctor’s portal is the reason you are getting all this junk mail.
Spammers have software “robots” that scan the internet looking for email addresses. Since all these addresses have a set format firstname.lastname@example.org it is easy to create a program that will look for that specific format. If your email address is anywhere on a public web page or forum, it is fairly easy for them to find.
Somehow, your email address has gotten on a list that spammers sell to each other. Your only recourses are to either filter out the messages, or change your email address. Unsubscribing really won’t work unless the emails are coming from a legitimate company. All you are doing is making your email address more valuable because they know there is a live person connected to the account.
Since changing your email address is a little drastic (although I know quite a few people who have been driven to it by all the spam) lets start with filtering out the messages.
I noticed that you are sending me this message using a Gmail account, so lets see what you can do there. When reading a Gmail message, you will notice a small stop sign with an exclamation mark in the center. If the message you are reading is junk that you did not ask for, just click that button (If you hover your mouse over it, it will say, “Report Spam”).
Reporting Spam messages this way not only blocks them from coming into your inbox in Gmail, but it also contributes to Gmail’s database and helps all other Gmail users.
It’s Your Turn: What do you think?
…. Share your experience in the comments box below.
Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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