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At what point are nearly all emails just spam..

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D_W

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..for example, 15 years ago, our trash company had the men lift cans into the backs of the trucks (Spare me the virtue signal about men, they only hired men to lift the cans - and this man probably wouldn't have been up for it, either, despite being stronger than the average male).

My spouse was complaining about our can size, which was already over the limit they provided (at that time, it was 35 gallon cans, we had one that was 45 because we only wanted one can).

With two kids, we've outgrown it thanks to the absurd amount of packaging with everything (even after you take out the stuff that can be recycled). So, I called the garbage company to ask them what size can we could use "any size is fine now" (two guys have been replaced by one and an automatic lifter). Well, our local services page doesn't state the limitations in the terms like it used to, but one can never assume that doesn't mean there aren't any, I used the artificial intelligence widget which was like a maze to finally have it give up and tell me to call customer service - somehow the AI widget on a refuse company site doesn't recognize "maximum garbage can size" " can size" "container size limit" or anything remotely close to the actual service, and now after getting a 5 second answer, 3 emails asking how they did. All different.

Are they really even survey emails or has someone decided internally that they're a chance to spam a customer and market ancillary services (which is what's attached to the surveys).

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Example 2 - The electric company - I'm captive to them. Billing is electronic so there is no way for me to avoid them having my email address. But, now, more than getting anything useful, I receive "warning - severe weather expected today - what to do in the event of a power outage". It's 80 degrees. Nothing. If it's at night, we'll sleep.

This isn't necessarily a bad message to get once in a while ( a list of preparedness items, a reminder to call the company if there's an outage or 911 if power lines are down), but we don't get it once in a while. It's automatic any time there is a chance of thunderstorms. With a link to the webpage at the top. After a couple, I will go back to their page and work through account services and remove any email notifications that aren't related to my service account (as in bills, or warnings of credit cards that have expired). Within a month or two, these things come back. I have no idea how.

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Example 3 - retailer that I go to here that requires a membership fee (I guess you guys have costco there). I have now and again done the same thing when I get an email - go back and reset account options. If I buy something online, please only the receipt (i have that from the purchase page, anyway). Within a short period of time, I get a "how did we do" or "how did you like the product" email. I literally got two emails asking me to rate cocoa.

WTF!

I'll bet early on, attaching emails to accounts was useful because you had digital records and that was about it. Now, it seems like no matter how fast and how often I go back and check off the options, they come back. Albeit in lower volume than they would if I never checked the options off - they'd be intolerable if that were the case. All of the spammy extras seem to come from the same email address that account-related reminders come from, so I can't just easily make the emails spam by email address rule.

We are all well aware of the "deals" emails that come from woodworking retailers unless the rules are different there. Some of them hide a checkbox in the mice type at the bottom of the page when you buy something, and others don't and force you to decline future emails later. One small purchase to Rockler here will yield daily emails if you're not careful, and for the dumbest of items.

Everything is data driven now, though, so I'm sure they know that for every person it irritates, some percentage will follow a link, anyway, and then the type of person who watches TV only to see the commercials will ask if they can get more deals and more deal emails more often.
 

Trainee neophyte

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Do you not have more than one email address? I have lots, including one titled "[email protected] just to make a point. Real people get a real adress, utilities et al get another, sites like this one (assume no privacy, ever) get another. Then I link them all into my email client so I can manage it without fuss.

I still get lots of spam though but spam assassin sees sees most of it. Here's a hint: don't use free Google or Microsoft etc accounts, because their AI actually reads all your email, and sells the contents to advertisers. And governments. And purveyors of tinfoil hats.
 

selectortone

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Here's a hint: don't use free Google or Microsoft etc accounts, because their AI actually reads all your email...
It must find my emails riveting. Today, a gas bill, my daily emails from Axminster tools and ebuyer.com, and something from the council about delays to garden refuse collection.
 

D_W

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no, I can't keep track of two (actually, I have three, but one is gmail and I just let that handle all of the rubbish that comes through google products or anything like that).

The other one that I have, I thought I was all good on as I just spam filter anything that comes through that's rubbish. Like facebook, which I haven't seen since 2010 at the most recent, but despite turning all options off, those crooks always have some excuse to send me something else. Anything with the word facebook anywhere in it, period, is automatically gone - love that "rule".

It's the emergence of the "retailer you just bought from or called" spamming the rubbish out of you with their regular email address that's a real problem.

Two groups one-upped them this year, too, and I don't mean by actually sending personal emails hand written, I mean I purchased guitar parts *last* year and haven't in a while. Nothing special and not a lot. I have gotten three personal calls in the middle of the work day from musician's friend and sweetwater here in the US from an assigned "service advisor" asking if I had time to talk. "No, I'm at work".

I've ordered from those two several times in the past, but I'd guess they have seen some data-driven or data-based reason to direct market to prior buyers. By phone. Calling you by name. What a pain.
 

MARK.B.

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Ebay asked me how i rated a 15mm Brass Compression elbow joint and could i write a review on it , i mean i could but what would you say :unsure::p
 

D_W

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About as much as I could say about cocoa.

It taste like cocoa. It's hershey's brand. I was surprised, because I heard that sometimes they put dirt in the containers instead to cut costs. kthx.
 

D_W

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I was hoping for the brown cocoa, too, and didn't know what other kinds they might have. Like purple. I'd hate purple. Nobody likes purple cocoa. They sent me the brown. And it wasn't dirt. I think. I can't say for sure because I haven't eaten every kind of dirt, and somewhere that these trees grow, maybe the dirt is like this....

...or maybe it's bark. It could be bark if it was ground fine enough. I don't know if I could tell the difference, so anyone who is really picky should disregard my review. I heard sam's sometimes gets cut quality products instead of the same things they have in other stores, too.


(that last one would guarantee it wouldn't stay up long :) )
 

robgul

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As suggested up-thread - multiple email addresses work for me - I have my own domain name : <word>.co.uk and the mail system is set with a "catch-all" to forward all mail to my "real" email address (that's a BT Business account)

So - when I need to give an email address I can give the real (BT) one for important things like the bank, doctor and official stuff. For other things I'll usually create an email address as <supplier>@<word>.co.uk domain. Thus incoming mail can have filters set with various options at my email client - like delete at server, file in xyz folder - OR be blocked. I can also filter on sender addresses and keywords. It may seem convoluted but it works - for example, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor etc just get blocked - likewise subject lines with, e.g. Investment Opportunity can be blocked.

The other thing my method shows is when an email address is sold to/passed to another company or mailing company . . . .

It's not 100% foolproof but it's a start.
 

johnny

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This is a really interesting topic that probably effects everyone to some extent.

Many many years ago I created an online pseudonym on google , emails youtube etc and it has worked quite well in that there is little apparent link to my true identity .It does create a little confusion at times when messaging people that I know or paying for stuff online but it has given me some anonymity from google's and others invasive prying online bots .

I also run several email ID's including 2x ebay accounts . I sell things with one account and purchase with the main account , That way my 2500 positive 100% feedback on the main account is never at risk of spiteful negative feedbacks . That works very well.

I have a third email address I use for Forums and other potentially insecure sites however last year I still managed to suffer an identity theft , someone managed to purchase car insurance and ferry tickets to Amsterdam before I managed to cancel my Building Society Debit Card.

I would love to completely change my online presence on all my devices ,......identity ,ID's , passwords , browsers ,IP the lot but don't know how to go about it . There are websites that offer random generated passwords and store them for you ???? that just doesn't sound like a sensible option to me....giving your Banking passwords to an unknown online Company based god knows where . ?!

If anyone has any experience as to how to go about creating a safer online presence or has any useful links it would be helpful to all of us if they would share them with us.
happy Friday everyone :giggle:
 

jcassidy

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So a lot of people - including developers - don't realise that there are some rules for email address.

You can insert a full stop anywhere before the @ symbol, and it is ignored by the email servers.
e.g.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

The other thing is that you can use a + sybmol, after which everything is ignored;

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

The email is sent to [email protected] but the address used is [email protected] so I know it came from them.

This one may not work if the webpage developers are unskilled and moan about the + symbol not being allowed. That itself is a really bad sign 'cos they're trying to protect from attack by banning symbols rather than properly using escaping characters, but that's a different discussion.

I have a shedload of accounts with people using the "+" function, and when I get spam I know exactly who sold my details... including the login for this very forum!
 

D_W

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So a lot of people - including developers - don't realise that there are some rules for email address.

You can insert a full stop anywhere before the @ symbol, and it is ignored by the email servers.
e.g.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

The other thing is that you can use a + sybmol, after which everything is ignored;

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

The email is sent to [email protected] but the address used is [email protected] so I know it came from them.

This one may not work if the webpage developers are unskilled and moan about the + symbol not being allowed. That itself is a really bad sign 'cos they're trying to protect from attack by banning symbols rather than properly using escaping characters, but that's a different discussion.

I have a shedload of accounts with people using the "+" function, and when I get spam I know exactly who sold my details... including the login for this very forum!
Well, just more proof that we're the product in forums and not the customers.
 

jcassidy

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Oh no, I didn't mean to infer that I get spam from ukworkshop - I don't (at least, not once I ignore the off-topic threads! :) :) :) )
Just that I use the +ukworkshop tag to create an account here.
 

J-G

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You can insert a full stop anywhere before the @ symbol, and it is ignored by the email servers.
e.g.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

The other thing is that you can use a + sybmol, after which everything is ignored;

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
I've just tested this since I am an IT pro and didn't know about it - sorry it does NOT work.

insertion of + or . before the @ causes a [Mail delivery failed] message and a non-delivery of the message.

The only way I could envisage this working is if the real e-mail address is a 'Catchall' that is in fact *@Spam.ie in which case there are no rules as to what appears before the @.
 

jcassidy

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I've just tested this since I am an IT pro and didn't know about it - sorry it does NOT work.

insertion of + or . before the @ causes a [Mail delivery failed] message and a non-delivery of the message.

The only way I could envisage this working is if the real e-mail address is a 'Catchall' that is in fact *@Spam.ie in which case there are no rules as to what appears before the @.
Email me at [email protected] and I'll happily email you back.

The use of subaddressing is included in RFC5233 but is not universally implemented. Although RFC5233 doesn't specify a delimiter, the industry seems to have settled on the "+" sign. I think Amazon use something else in their world, just to be special.

The use of the "." is specific to google services, so apologies for the miscommunication there, I've used it for so long I'd forgotten. I use gmail as a spam filter between my real email and everyone else.
 

jcassidy

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I've just tested this since I am an IT pro and didn't know about it - sorry it does NOT work.

insertion of + or . before the @ causes a [Mail delivery failed] message and a non-delivery of the message.

The only way I could envisage this working is if the real e-mail address is a 'Catchall' that is in fact *@Spam.ie in which case there are no rules as to what appears before the @.
Email me at [email protected] and I'll happily email you back.

The use of subaddressing is included in RFC5233 but is not universally implemented. Although RFC5233 doesn't specify a delimiter, the industry seems to have settled on the "+" sign. I think Amazon use something else in their world, just to be special.

The use of the "." is specific to google services, so apologies for the miscommunication there, I've used it for so long I'd forgotten. I use gmail as a spam filter between my real email and everyone else for stuff I don't care if google know about - like forum notifications! :)

For real private email, like from my bank authenticator, I either create a new address in my own domain or just give them my address.

Hope that clarifies it, although we've probably confused the non-techies now....
 

MarkAW

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As suggested up-thread - multiple email addresses work for me - I have my own domain name : <word>.co.uk and the mail system is set with a "catch-all" to forward all mail to my "real" email address (that's a BT Business account)

So - when I need to give an email address I can give the real (BT) one for important things like the bank, doctor and official stuff. For other things I'll usually create an email address as <supplier>@<word>.co.uk domain. Thus incoming mail can have filters set with various options at my email client - like delete at server, file in xyz folder - OR be blocked. I can also filter on sender addresses and keywords. It may seem convoluted but it works - for example, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor etc just get blocked - likewise subject lines with, e.g. Investment Opportunity can be blocked.

The other thing my method shows is when an email address is sold to/passed to another company or mailing company . . . .

It's not 100% foolproof but it's a start.
I do the same thing. Often I get some call centre person questioning my email address being correct. Or "do you work for us then?"

As each company gets a different prefix I know when the real dodgy spam comes through which company is to blame for selling or not keeping safe my email address. So far only Groupon.

I've also have to switch off notifications for emails. I like to be notified if a friend or family member emails me, but the volume of unsolicited emails means my phone would be constantly pinging for my attention. No thanks

Oh, and no business gets my mobile phone number. I usually have to provide 01234567890 when ordering things online to arrive in the post. You have my postal address and my money. That's it, purchase complete. But they also want an email, telephone, create a password. I think I'll stop ranting at this point.
 
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the infuriating one for me is banks promoting paperless billing/statements to save paper, which is a good thing.

... but then frequently sending me post trying to get me to use one of their credit cards ... grrr


If you could somehow add up all the energy used (server farms) for spam mail, I wonder just how bad it would be?
 
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