Dr Brown's Spamaria

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Dr Brown's Spamaria

Postby Nuke » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:12 am

Chris Brown's tactics for avoiding spam [LXF156] seem a bit behind the curve!

For one thing, if you are going to give a false email address you might as well make it sound plausible. I give [myname]2763@aol.co.uk or @hotmail.co.uk, neither of which exist (AFAIK) . Both AoL and MS have given me enough junk in the past so they are due something back. I also created a real Yahoo account that I never look at but gives me a real address to hand out.

But many web sites won't do business unless you give an address that works, because you must first respond to a test email from them. For this situation look at www.spamgourmet.com. You might be suspicious, but it really works as a free disposable address service. You sign up for an account with your real email address (it's OK, trust me) and an account name, (say "linuxguy", or your real name). When, say, Bloggs Widget Company wants your address, you give "bwc.linuxguy@spamgourmet.com". The part before the first period is completely arbitrary, but the "bwc" will identify the culprit of future spam.

Then Spamgourmet will pass on the first 20 emails to you with this address, but subsequent ones will go into their black hole. However you can log back on to Spamgourmet and turn off the tap any time, or turn it back on again, and change the number from the default 20.

The name "spamgourmet.com" can sound suspicious and some companies are wise to it. So Spamgourmet does offer some alternatives. I use "recursor.net". For example Lloyds Bank accepted "spamgourmet.com" but FirstDirect Bank did not, but did accept "recursor.net"

You can also log on to Spamgourmet and see statistics. For me they have stopped nearly 2000 spams in the last year. You can have a spam filter on your own mailbox, I do, but if you know you will have no use for emails from a merchant or his "partners" after the purchase there is no point in even letting it get that far.
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Postby Dutch_Master » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:19 am

There's no substitute for "common sense when handing out your email address" :roll: :P
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:56 am

It was meant to be tongue-in cheek, I think.
I just refuse to give my email address to shops and hotels, denying all knowledge.
For sites that I am not sure of, I use an email address that never gets collected automatically, such as spamdumper@ (I have 15 available email aliases on my ISP account, and I only use about 4 of them) . I check in via webmail to collect any activation emails. Every now and then I change it, so any further emails are dumped.
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Postby nelz » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:59 am

I have a free choice of usernames, so I always use the name of the business. That way, if I start getting spam to that address, I know who to blame/report.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)
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Postby Nuke » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:42 am

nelz wrote:I have a free choice of usernames, so I always use the name of the business. That way, if I start getting spam to that address, I know who to blame/report.


Indeed. To clarify, Spamgourmet allows any number of addresses, as in "????.myusername@spamgourmet.com" where "???" could be the company name. I disguise it a bit though so as not to give the game away. Then, if you log on to Spamgourmet you can manage each of these addresses individually in terms of allowing/disallowing, number of mails permitted, and viewing their statistics. You can also add notes to each, so you could identify the company in these notes instead of in the address itself..

Last time I looked I had over 50 such addresses with Spamgourmet, and rising.

Looking at the statistics in my case, I see that one company alone is responsible for about 75% of the spam (> 5 per day) and turning that address back on for a day or two I can see that they have sold it all over the place.

BTW, the default count is for mails allowed is 3, not 20, which is more reasonable - my mistake.
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