It's Email Spam - To Your Annoyance

Often referred to as junk or bulk email, email spam is one of the biggest problems faced by web users all over the world.  The act typically involves a mass amount of email being sent to numerous recipients without permission. 

Who is spamming you?

Money hungry individuals have been spamming email accounts since the introduction of the internet.  The current rate of unsolicited email has increased to an estimated number of 90 billion per day.  What is even more shocking is the fact that about 80 percent of the messages are sent by less than 200 actual spammers - meaning that 80 percent is comprised of robot networks and computers that are being controlled by virus writers.

Where are they finding your personal information?

Spammers utilize a variety of sources to collect email addresses; they find them on other web sites, chat rooms, and newsgroups.  They even purchase lists from virus writers who are able to extract a user's address book.  While several internet service providers have attempted to recover the costs inflicted by spam through lawsuits, there is simply no way for them to be repaid 100 percent of the total damages. 

Intelligent spammers are also on the prowl for vulnerable third-party networks and systems, such open mail relays and proxy servers.  Though email servers used by most service providers normally require some type of authentication to determine genuine clients, open relays do not run the appropriate check.  This makes it difficult to identify spammers, while giving them an open road into their network. 

The headaches of spam

Spam has created problems on many levels, all of which generally affect a recipient the most.  When an IP address is loaded with a large amount of spam, not only will their inbox be clogged with unsolicited messages, but they may also have a difficult time sending out legitimate emails.  In this case, many honest online businesses are wrongfully accused of spamming; sometimes by their recipients, sometimes by their service providers.  Some providers will go as far as terminating service, believing that they are weeding out the problem when they are actually turning away a decent client.

Our government's efforts at spam control

The act of spamming has always been prohibited on the web as declared by the Terms of Service-Acceptable Use Policy set forth by internet service providers.  As thousands of people follow this intrusive form of advertising, spam has not only become unethical but quite expensive, costing internet users an estimated $10 billion a year alone. 

As the internet has involved, users and service providers have turned to various anti-spam solutions to regulate the issue.  They have also looked to relief from government officials.  As you may have noticed, these efforts have failed to provide any justice, especially in the United States where the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 in a sense protected spammers by redefining tough laws set by particular states.  Other countries have passed their own laws against spam, including Australia and many other locations categorized in the European Union.

Spammers have grown as bold as sending email with the pure intent of committing fraud.  Considering how the trend has been spread on a world wide scale, many analysts have concluded that spamming will not cease until one of the major perpetrators is fully prosecuted and does some serious jail time.

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.