Spam Jam

Trivia time: Do you know that aside from fraud and lack of consumer confidence, spam is another culprit in the long line of shopper stumbling blocks?

No, not Spam-meat-in-a-can. Spam like the ones flooding your inbox.

What is Spam?
Spamming is the process that involves sending unrequested electronic messages to numerous recipients often for commercial purposes. When you get an email offering diet pills with no prescription necessary, you have to bet it's spam.

There are different kinds of spam that has invaded the net. You can see spam in your email inbox, a bit of spam in your chat rooms and instant messengers, in your blogs (what?! You scratch your head in defeat), forums, and even on your mobile phones.

Nobody can escape spam. Especially email spam. Just this February, around 90 billion email spam flooded the inboxes of people around the world. Imagine that. 90 billion.

Email spam can be classified according to its commercial purpose: Financial, Adult, Scam, Health, Internet, Spiritual, Leisure and others. Look at your inbox - I'm wagering there's at least one email spam from the Adult Industry.

Fortunately, email providers have implemented anti-spam filters (hence the spam mail folder) to separate your personal/business emails from email spam. However, it doesn't entirely rid the world of spam - as long as there are ecommerce merchants selling something, there will always be spam.

Can-Spam Act of 2003
How would you feel if somebody calls you on the phone and promotes a certain product without your prior knowledge of where and when you gave this company your phone number? You'd feel your privacy was violated.

That's precisely the problem with spam. These spammers violate the rights of individuals to privacy when their emails are collected without their permission. You could argue that there is no such thing as "privacy" on the net - but the government begs to differ.

The Can-Spam Act of 2003 as signed by President Bush set the standards for sending emails of commercial nature. The bill also protects consumers from spam in their mobile phones. The bill does not stop unsolicited email but it does control the content, amount of email sent by e-marketers and spammers. Although this was met with a lot of boos, there was a noticeable decrease in email spam volume.

Sow and you shall reap
Let's go back to the bit of trivia above. Anybody who has an email can be a potential candidate for Address Harvesting. Address Harvesting, as the name suggests, is the harvesting of email addresses of people without their permission in order to send unsolicited email spam.

Now where do they get these emails? There are a lot of sources for address harvesting and one of them would be merchants.


If you've ever tried shopping online, you'd notice that email addresses are requested by some - if not all - merchants. Remember that private information is supplied to merchants and some unscrupulous merchants sell these email addresses to other e-marketers and spammers.

This is what most shoppers fear most - private information including email addresses divulged to others without prior consent. By providing these spammers and e-marketers, their inboxes are filled with unsolicited emails(legit looking or not) that can either lead to viruses, illegal ecommerce sites and costly fraud.

What can you do?
Email account providers have implemented anti-spam filters, while bloggers have Akismet to filter spam blogs.

As a consumer one can personally filter these emails by noting down the following:

>Multiple addresses. If you have an email with recipients addresses' similar to yours (,, then it must be spam.
>If the heading is different from the content, it must be spam.
>There is no physical address written on the email.

Trivia Time #2:
You can't eradicate spam - but with simple, small steps, you can reduce it.
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