About Spam

Spam is the Internet’s Equivalent of "Junk-Mail"

Spam is unsolicited and unwanted e-mail that comes in many forms. Spam messages can:

  • Advertise a product or service.
  • Contain offensive text or images.
  • Attempt to defraud people of money.
  • Spread computer viruses.

Spam is a Serious Problem

More than 50% of the e-mail being sent to UBC is spam, which has resulted in:

  • Email delivery delays. The massive amount of spam e-mail being sent to UBC sometimes prevents university mail servers from quickly processing and delivering legitimate e-mail.
  • Lost productivity. Faculty, students, and staff occasionally need to wait for an extended period of time for critical email messages to arrive. Spam also increases the amount of time required to manage inbox contents.

Spammers Use Publicly Listed Email Addresses

The Centre for Democracy and Technology has found that people who send spam often target email addresses listed on websites. If you can find your email address on Google, you will likely receive spam in the near future - if you are not already receiving it.

Steps You Can Take to Avoid Spam

You can prevent spammers from discovering your e-mail address by only giving it to trusted individuals and organizations.

  • If possible, do not put your e-mail address on a webpage. If you must include your e-mail address on a webpage, encode it so that "spambots" cannot recognize it as an e-mail address.
  • Do not send people online greeting cards. The greeting card website might store your e-mail address and sell it to spam distributors.
  • Create an alternate e-mail account to use exclusively for sites or people that you do not know well.
  • Use an alternate e-mail address when you subscribe to a mailing list if you are unsure of the list’s privacy policy or if the list’s address is posted on a website.

If you are already receiving spam, you can make the situation more manageable by doing the following:

  • When you receive a spam message, do not reply to it or try its unsubscribe option. This will only indicate to the spammer that your address works.
  • Filter spam e-mail by using your e-mail application’s built-in filter or a third-party product, such as SpamBayes (a free spam filter).
  • Configure your e-mail application to filter spam.  How do I do this?

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Last reviewed8/20/2013 3:35:40 PM

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