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spam

Q&A

Why do I get spam?
1) you left your email address at a website (to see some content) and the owner of that website sold your email address to spammers.
2) the mailbox was hacked of someone you ever received mail from/sent mail to.

What should I do if I know a message is spam?
Move it to your spam folder. Microsoft mailservers learn from this. If a lot of people move a certain message to their spam folder, that message will be marked as spam automaticly.

Why do I get much more spam, since the last few days/weeks?
Your email adress was added to the list of a new spammer.
Nothing you can do about this. Just keep moving the spam mails to your spam folder. It usually will lessen in a few days/weeks when the Microsoft spam detecting algoritmes are updated.

Isn't it possible to make the spam detecting algoritmes more aggresive (and filtering more spam)?
Yes, this is possible. However, this will also increase the possibility of more false positives (mail which isn't spam, is moved to your spam folder). You might be missing important mails from your college's/customers this way.
Contact your IT department if you receive more than 10 spam emails per day, for a week.

Mail from a certain college/company often arrives in my spam folder. Can there be done something to prevent this?
Yes, contact your IT department and the email address will be whitelisted.
Still, you should check your spam folder regularly (every few days) to make sure you didn't miss important emails.

If I am not certain a message is spam, should I forward it to a college to ask if he/she thinks it's spam?
No, because Microsoft mailservers might have learned the mail is spam, your inquiry will probably end up in your college's spam folder.
Another reason not to do this, is that you might be classified as a spammer (you just sent a mail, classified as spam), resulting in a higher chance your mails will end up in the spam folder of your college's/customers.

I really want someone else to determine if a message is spam or not.
1) Call your IT department and ask them to take a look on your computer, using teamviewer.
2) make a screenshot of the mail and forward that screenshot to your college/IT department.

Why do some spam messages contain a lot of random words and some links?
Because some spam detecting algoritmes use the strategy that if certain words are in a mail, it's less likely to be spam. Spammers responded to this, by adding a lot of those words to the spam they send and hope you just click on the links.

I pressed on a link in a spam email. Is my computer now infected?
Probably not. Nowadays all browser get updated automaticly. If a vulnerability is found, it usually will be repaired fast. You can be unlucky if the vulnerability in the link is newer than your browser. Chances of this are not very high.

What is fishing?
Fishing is a type of spam where the spammer tries to impersonate a college/your bank/microsoft/etc. to make you do something.

Can you give me some examples of fishing?
1)
From: "name of the director of your company"
Subject: amount
Hi there!
Can you please tell me the amount on our bank account?

Were you to reply to this email, you would get a new email asking you to transfer this amount to another account. The account of the spammer.

2)
From: "name of your bank"
Subject: large sum received
Hi there!
You received a large sum of money on your account. Please log in to your account, using this link to tell us what to do with this money.

If you would click on the link, you would go to a website, which looks like your banks website, but is really created by the spammer. If you log in, you provide the spammer with the login credentials to your bank account.

3)
From: Microsoft
Subject: meeting request received
Hi there!
You received a meeting request, click here to accept it.

If you click on this link, you would go to a website, which looks like Microsoft, but is really a website created by the spammer. If you log in, you provide the spammer with the login credentials to your mail account.

How do know a message is a fishing attempt?
This is usually easy: just press reply.
In the reply message you can see the email address you are replying to.
Examples:
1) say you have college, named John Smith with email adress john@company.com. If you press reply you still see the name John Smith, but the reply address is, for example, gggff@gfuu.co.jp. That will inform you the mail isn't legit.
2) you receive a mail from Microsoft, but after pressing reply you see the reply address is, for example, gggff@gfuu.co.jp. That will inform you the mail isn't legit.

Still in doubt? Make a phone call to that college/company/your IT department.

I want access to a website, but I need to provide an email address. I'm afraid I'll receive spam when I do this. What can I do?
Use the website 10minutemail.com to provide an email address.

How about fishing using whatsapp?
This is possible too. Example of a used strategy:
1) they call you and say nothing. You say "hello, this is x". Since you hear nothing, you say "hello, hello!!" and then you hang up. They record your words...
2) they app your college/family/friend from a new mobile number and say "from now on, this is my new mobile number, you can delete the old one".
3) a few hours later, they app your college/family/friend and say you desperately need some money for some plausible reason.
4) when your college/family/friend calls the number to verify it's really you, they play the recording made in step 1 (it's just if you cannot hear them).
5) your college/family/friend, convinced it is you, transfers the money...

(From 1 January 2020 till 1 October 2020, in the Netherlands alone, 1100 people fell for this type of scam for a total of 3.3 million euros)

I have a question, which is not in above page.
Please mail eric@gondolin.com