Slamming Spamming

Hanging up the phone while telemarketers are mid-sentence gives reticent people like me an adrenaline rush the first few times, but it gets old pretty quickly.

“Verbal spam,” as I like to call it, certainly is easier to control than the unsolicited spam that winds up — and accumulates at the speed of light — in your inbox.

Call it my high-tolerance threshold, but incoming spam has never really gotten under my skin; that is, until a few months ago when I dove headlong into a job-search marathon.

In my haste to register on every (what I naively considered to be legitimate) job search engine I could find, I went through the mundane steps of entering my personal contact information, which included my e-mail address, in the required job-compatibility or registration forms.

Since then, the levees have burst and floods of proliferating spam have infiltrated my inbox, courtesy of an alleged marketing company that has craftily managed to conceal its identity so it’s virtually impossible to contact the culprit, let alone mass unsubscribe. This is one problem that even a Google search couldn’t help.

I’ve had to resort to the old-fashioned method of painstakingly removing myself from each advertiser’s distribution list, but the original source for mass spamming is still at large, armed and dangerous.

This entire escapade raises the issue of online security. It goes without saying that Internet users must be extremely cautious when registering or applying for anything online — be it virtual malls, professional profile sites or social networking tools. But must we begin to protect our personal or business e-mail addresses much like we do our credit card information or Social Security numbers? Must we deny ourselves access to legitimate sites with the intention of remaining spam-free?

In some cases, excessive spam in businesses has even led to reduced productivity levels.

It is estimated that spam made up 90 to 95 percent of all e-mails in 2007. While some parts of the world have rendered spam illegal

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Deanna Hartley

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