Spam is the common term for "junk e-mail." There are different definitions for it -- from the very specific to the very general ("anything I don't want!"). The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 defines spam as "any unsolicited e-mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service."

It May Be Spam If:

    • It is unsolicited; you did not ask for it.
    • It is impersonal to the point where the recipient is unimportant. (For example, if you are a collector of rare books, and you receive an e-mail flyer for a rare book auction, many would NOT consider that spam.)
    • It may have a misleading subject line or a false return address.
    • It does not include a method for avoiding future e-mails from the same organization.
When advertisements arrive in your inbox for things like low-rate mortgages, miracle drugs, or cheap long distance services, you have been spammed. Spam often advertises suspicious products or “get rich quick” promotions. It is sent out at an extremely low cost to the sender, forcing most of its expenditure onto the Internet Service Providers, and thus, paying consumers.

Spam mailing lists can be created in a number of ways. Spammers will often pay top dollar for mailing lists with verified e-mail addresses. Spammers also use a variety of "bots," that scour the Internet looking for e-mail addresses posted to websites and message boards. It is very difficult to avoid ending up on a spam mailing list, because marketers are so willing to pay for the information.

The CAN SPAM Act of 2003 -
New legislation has been enacted that is designed to protect you from the continued onslaught of spam.
Also known as the CAN SPAM Act, the “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003” took effect on January 1, 2004, establishing a set of strict guidelines that spammers must follow in order to continue their practices legally. In depth information about the CAN SPAM Act can be found in The Florida Electronic Mail Communications Act.

On May 25, 2004 Governor Bush signed into law the Electronic Mail Communications Act. Effective July 1, 2004, the new legislation carries no criminal penalties, only civil. In addition to other provisions, the bill prohibits commercial electronic mail messages that falsely identify the origin or identity of the sender or contain false or misleading information in the subject line.

Some Tips to Help You Deal With Spam E-mail -
Some providers may offer a filtering option for your e-mail account. Check with your specific Internet Service Provider to see what options are available. Below are a few additional suggestions that can help you keep your inbox spam free. Be aware that by requesting that you be "removed" from a spamer's mailing list, you may actually be confirming that your e-mail address works. This could result in your receiving additional unwanted e-mail.

If you are posting your e-mail address to a website or message board, consider masking or encrypting it. This can be accomplished several ways. This way, any reasonable web surfer will be able to determine your e-mail address, but it will not be harvested by web bots. Additionally, several on-line services, such as Automatic Labs' Enkoder, will translate your e-mail address into JavaScript that cannot be harvested by these web bots.

Be careful when giving out your e-mail address. Before giving it to a website, or to anyone, find out what the privacy policy is. Secure Florida guarantees that we will neither give nor sell your e-mail address to anyone; not all sites do that.

Forward spam e-mail to the Internet Service Provider of the sender as a complaint. Sending spam is against the terms of service for most providers and therefore could result in the termination of the sender's account.

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