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mntanakd

How to stop spam from being sent ?

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I have an AOL email account that I use when making purchases so as not to get my personal email full of spam. But lately I get an increase of returned emails from that account with links to a Canadian Pharmacy. How do I get the account to stop sending out the bogus emails. AOL won't give me any support unless I pay them.

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Why not ditch AOL if their support is terrible and sign up for a free web mail account for your on-line purchases? Create a gmail or yahoo account that you only use for shopping.

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It's not clear that the account is "sending out" spam mails.

You are getting returned mail? Returned from where? Where was it sent? Random addresses?

Returned mail does not contain spam links, it just states the email was undeliverable and why.

So where is this spammy link, exactly?

Or are you receiving spam mail, like any email account is susceptible to? Does AOL mail provide any mail filters at all?

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Okay a quick background on SPAM.

Most countries have mandated that legitimate businesses include an opt out link that you can click and get deleted from their mailing lists, and since they are law abiding and face penalties if they spam you after you told them to stop they will take you off their list.

But Spammers are different, they often deal with illegitimate businesses and scams, or they are getting a referral commission and the actual product producer has no knowledge of how they are recruiting customers or making sales.

Governments are increasingly prosecuting spammers of this sort, so they are no longer using their own computers to send the spam or host the site that it links to.

Instead they rely on botnets, networks of computers which are infected with malware (often gotten when you visit one of their bogus sites or search for things like Obama Bin Laden death photos) . These "zombies" will periodically listen on Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels or similar methods for instructions. There they will receive updates spam messeges and lists of harvested email addresses. They will then use a bult in simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) routine to take a spam message, and one email address from the list to spoof as a sender and another as the recipient. They spew these out of an infected machine at rates of about thirty per second without any trace or use of the clients email account etc.

Often they will take randomly generated email addresses and use these as recipients and hide an invisible "webbug" a 1x1Pixel gif with no image but a unique identifier so that when a call is made for that image when the email is opened they can match it to the address that opened it and know that is a valid email address which they can sell to other spammers. So never open spam. Mark it as junk and let the junk mail filter delete it, and have your email client set to not download images until you open the mail and tell it to load images.

Many also will use a sender address pretending to be a postmaster returning undeliverable mail since you are almost certain to open that to see what mail you sent was not delivered. This is very useful for verifying addresses so that they can sell them. Real ISPs and major companies no longer bounce spam (and any individual who knows how spam works) since it will not return to the actual sender but to some random individual who's account is being spoofed. Sure there are still a bunch of uninformed indivuduals who think that by bouncing it back with an obsolete spam bouncer program they are sticking it to the spammer, but this is not so.

So what should you do? Go into your account settings and turn on any junk filters they provide. If there is an option to lable something junk and have it blocked in the future, do so.

If you use a email client to access your mail (rather than a web interface) get one like Mozilla Mail which includes a baysean spam filter which learns from what you mark as spam (other clients often require you to get a filter , if so try to get a basysean one which works with a black list white list as well as learning from what you mark as spam).

Above all, do not open suspected spam.

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