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Getting Off E-mail Lists

Here’s how you can get off mailing lists. First let me warn you, it can be a lot of work. You have to opt out of all the mailing lists you are on. This means when it says “Click here to be removed from our mailing list,” you do it. If a message doesn’t offer opt-out, deleting the mail is often the easiest choice, but you can do more. Use your e-mail program to view the headers of the e-mail, and look for the original sender in the headers (you can usually find that information near the top of the header, as in Figure 6-2). Then send mail to that address and request removal from the list. Often the sender’s address is forged, but this is worth a shot. (Note that by responding to the mail at all, you verify for the sender that your address is valid. Some will still remove you from the list when asked; others won’t.) If you live in a state with anti-spam laws, report the sender to your State Attorney General or just forward the mail there. (Each state is different; check with the Attorney General before forwarding spam mail.) If you don’t want to go to the trouble of responding and possibly making the problem worse, your best bet is to never respond to any mass mailing. Not only does this make their efforts not profitable because you don’t buy anything or give out any money, but they can’t verify that your address is valid and keep sending you mail.

If you don’t want to fight the mail but you don’t want it in your inbox, you can try blocking it. Check the instructions for your e-mail program (see Figure 6-4). Most have junk-mail filters that you can enable to stop junk mail from coming in after you have identified the sender as an originator of junk mail. Third-party programs are also available that claim to be junk-mail blockers. I haven’t tried any of these yet, but you might want to check them out.


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