Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Drowning in spam

Over the weekend, I received over 2,000 spam messages in my yahoo account. Over 2,000!

The spam is complicated. Someone has decided to make pretend email addresses using my peterjaworski.com domain. Emails like dlkjalklsjdfd-at-peterjaworski.com. Of course, there are no such addresses, and I am not sending these emails out about which stocks to pick, and how you can improve your masculinity, and how you can last longer for your significant other. Now I'm not saying I wouldn't send this kind of advice out if I had really good stock tips, or really good products that could help with both of the problems I mention, or really good tips about how to last longer. I'm just saying that I don't have this advice, unfortunately, and so can't help you, and therefore am not responsible for those emails.

Here's what happens. The spam is sent out with the fake name. Very many of the emails are caught for what they are: spam. Spam filters send an automated message back to the made-up email address, which happens to use my domain name after the @ part. My domain is set up in such a way that *any* messages sent to whatever-at-pj.com is then forwarded to my yahoo account.

I guess this is a pretty smart way to double your spamming. You send a message to a recipient, and if their spam filter blocks it and sends an automated response, this pitiful sap gets the message too.

But, damn, I can't begin to tell you how frustrating this is, and how angry this makes me. They have effectively stolen my yahoo account. I can't use it anymore. I've tried to filter the emails, but that doesn't seem to work. Today, for instance, I deleted 500-some-odd messages in the morning, less than 100 in the afternoon, and just ten minutes ago deleted another 700-or-so spam messages.

The problem is that very many people use that address to send me mail. And I'm betting that I will, at least sometimes, miss some of these emails in my attempts to delete the spam messages. So your message might be accidentally deleted by me. I'm also expecting important messages from the American Political Science Association, the American Philosophical Association, the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, and the Ohio Philosophical Association within the next two months. So I have to keep at this deleting business for a good, long time to come...

Oh, if you're a friend, please change your primary email contact for me to my gmail account.


Blogger Matt said...

Can you change the settings on your site so only the emails which actually exist are forwarded to you?

9:46 a.m.  
Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

My buddy Terrence may have figured this out. It was pretty simple. He created a filter for the body of the email, and excluded anything with at pj dot com in it. It looks like it's working. My trash box is getting awfully fat, and my inbox is not. It will take a few days to be sure that this works, but perhaps I needn't totally abandon my yahoo account because of this.

No matter what, however, it looks like the gmail is less open to this sort of spamfoolery. So do send emails there in place of yahoo.

If you're curious: I deleted over 300 messages this morning, about another 300 in the afternoon, and, just prior to adding filters, I deleted over 600 emails. How many of those emails were genuine? Beats me... Sorry if your messages don't get returned...

12:59 a.m.  

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