Read these 7 Reporting abuse Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Survey tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you have a persistent problem with spam that makes you not even want to check your e-mail anymore, it may be time to enlist the help of an online resource to help you combat the spam attacks. These companies can take the burden of reporting spam for you because they have the experience in tracing senders and headers to report them to the proper authorities. They have track records of shutting spammers down. They are also fully versed in what is and is not spam and the extent of law to which abusers can be punished. They can be important allies in the process of cleaning up your e-mail and getting you back on track to only receiving the mail you want.
If a person receives an e-mail from an unfamiliar address that they are unsure of, there is a way to find out if the mail is from a human or online automatic response marketing manager. This will protect the recipient from receiving a spam message that could be laden with viruses. Basically, upon receipt of the message, the recipient would issue a “challenge” to the sender. They would e-mail a response asking the sender to complete a task. It could be to solve a puzzle or visit a website to prove that they are real. If the task is completed, the recipient will know the sender's message is not spam. The challenge itself should not be considered spam, however, if you receive a challenge from a person that you never sent mail to, then the challenge mail would be spam.
Some business bulk mail that is e-mailed to you could be mail that you opted in to receive and don't remember. For instance, a newsletter or other marketing material from a Web site you joined is not considered spam because you probably agreed to receive it when you signed up. When receiving mail from companies that seem legitimate or have always been in the past, do not automatically report it as spam. Go back to the Web site in question and read over the site's privacy policies and acceptable use policies to determine if in fact you may have signed up with them and forgotten it. If you still believe you did not authorize this mail, then you can report it. It may be spammers trying to disguise themselves as a legitimate business.
The survey companies also have a responsibility to the members of their panel to keep their information safe from people who will abuse it. They should protect the members by not selling or otherwise giving out the personal information that they have been entrusted with. They also must take every precaution for the security of their database of information that it could not be hacked into by illegal means or taken advantage of by employees or agents of the company. These precautions will keep the abuse of surveyors to a minimum.
Companies should also always include opt-out links in their communication so that if anyone chooses to no longer be a member of the database that they can be removed as soon as possible.
Internet Service Providers do not like spammers using their service to dupe the public or fill up inboxes with their junk mail. Because spam is such a nuisance, Internet Service Providers have been known to cancel the accounts of people accused of sending spam. In fact, they may be terminated or even fined due to just one report of spam. This is why it is so important to make sure the mail really is unsolicited before reporting it. If you report an innocent company of spam abuse, you put their company at risk of losing their account as well as their good reputation. Be very careful when making judgments with such serious consequences.
There are many ways to report spam abuse by companies who flood your e-mail with bulk mail that is unwanted. One way is to find out which Internet Service Provider the spammer is using to send this unsolicited mail and report to them that their service is being used for sending spam. Most ISPs would not be happy to know this and would investigate and try to stop the spam abuse from occurring. The tricky questions are how to find out the spammers ISP and also how to get the full headers you will need to report them with. For answers to these questions, do research on reporting spam. There are a multitude of websites dedicated to reporting spam abuse. They even have step-by-step instructions on how to find these helpful tidbits to put spam to rest by turning them in
If you receive a confirmation e-mail for a service or Web site you signed up with, usually you will have to follow a link to activate or subscribe to the Web site. This final confirmation protects both the sender as well as the recipient. The sender can now prove that you did indeed opt-in to receive mailings if that is ever questioned. And the recipient can keep a copy of the e-mail filed away to remember which websites they have joined.
Confirmation messages should be very brief and not include extra marketing material. Use good judgment to determine if they are real and if you really signed on with the company. Some spammers attempt to make their marketing mail look like a confirmation for a purchase or opt-in mailing when in fact it is not. This trick will usually make you open it, but do not be fooled.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|