Sunday, March 13, 2011

If I could eat the spam in my inbox, I'd never go hungry!

Somehow, I have ended up on at least one spammer's email address. I can't quite figure out their gimmick, unless it's phishing. I've been offered free Southwest Airline tickets, gift cards for completing surveys, and a free home security system. I'm receiving offers for free grant money for school, learn-at-home opportunities, electronic cigarettes, and great deals on 2010 automobiles. Each offer comes two or three times a day, at least, from different email addresses. They all kind of look alike.

I guess maybe they think I'll eventually fall for their trap and fill out a form that gives them all the information they need to steal my identity.

I just forwarded 107 spam emails to the government's address - - in hopes that they'll investigate and stop these jerkwads. I had sent a few more, with full headers copied and pasted into the forwarded mail, however at least two of those bounced for containing a blacklisted URL (ya' think?).

I've tried using the blacklisting/whitelisting/graylisting feature provided by our ISP, but it ends up stopping legitimate mail, too. I'm already mad enough at Powweb (they promise unlimited email, but what they mean is that you can have as many email addresses as you want, but they won't allow you to keep much email on the server), without them stopping the emails that I want to receive.

Let me just verify - I'm not forwarding to the spam address any newsletters or sales documents sent from a legitimate company or retailer from whom I have requested information. They usually have an unsubscribe button, and if it doesn't work, I contact the company and tell them. The ones I'm reporting are obviously scams or phishing schemes or rip-offs in one respect or another.

I'm not sure how I got on this list. Did I enter the wrong giveaway? Are they finding it online through my blog? Did a "legitimate" giveaway sell my information to a list service? Or did Facebook or Google sell my address?

Here's what I'm considering doing. Tell me what you think of the idea.

I'll get my own domain and email service with "unlimited emails." Instead of creating one email box, I'll create one for every sweep I enter. I'm not saying it won't take time to set it all up. Or maybe I let all those "random" addresses feed into a catch-all mailbox that I'll check. So, when I sign up at the official Hershey chocolate site, I'll use hershey@mydomain. When I sign up at a freebie site, I'll use thisfreebiesite@mydomain. With that naming pattern, I will easily be able to track who sold my information, and take good solid action against them. I can try to contact their ISP and forward very specific information to the government's spam address, so that hopefully, they'll be blackballed. I can confidently report the issue to the sweepstakes website I use, and maybe their "giveaways" won't be listed anymore.

Do you think this could work?

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