UCE: Unsolicited Commercial Email
Also referred to as SPAM, Junk Mail and Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE), UCE is email sent to you, advertising some product, service or website, that you did not request. Like the junk mail that clogs up your physical mailbox, UCE clogs up the Internet, wasting valuable resources such as bandwidth and disk space.
Thousands of hours are spent by System Administrators and Internet Users trying to get rid of these unwanted messages. As your ISP, GWI spends a large amount of time working on preventing and tracking SPAM, to attempt to prevent it from affecting our customers. Despite our efforts, it is still possible to receive SPAM. However, there are several things you can do to limit or eliminate UCE. To learn more, visit our How You Can Prevent UCE in GWI’s Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) section.
How You Can Prevent UCE
In most cases, UCE is sent directly to your email address. In order for this to happen, the spammer needs a copy of your email address. GWI never ever gives out the email address of any of our customers. But these spammers have many other ways of getting your address. In order to insure that you get as little SPAM as possible, you should minimize the chance of a spammer getting your email address:
Activate the filters on your SPAM filtering service provided with your Internet access account. These filters will help prevent SPAM that gets sent to you from reaching your email box.
Do not publish your email address in plain text on your website. If your email address is listed on your website, spammers can use webcrawler programs to grab it from there to add it to their list. If you really want people to be able to email you from your website, setup a form they can fill out that keeps your email address hidden.
Do not display your email address in any chats or message boards. These places are often scanned by people or programs to gather valid email addresses to send UCE to.
- If you post to the usenet newsgroups, don't use your real email address. Once again, spammers have programs that will pull all valid looking email addresses out of the newsgroups.
But what if I need to give out my email address in one of these places?
Well, to prevent SPAM completely, you have two options.
- Get yourself a free Web-Based mail account. There are tons of sites that are offering this service these days. (Hotmail, Netscape, & Yahoo to name a few.) Whenever you visit a site, chat, message board, etc., where you aren't sure of the security, use this email address instead of your normal address. Every couple weeks you can check this "SPAM Catcher" account looking for the one or two valid messages you might have, and delete the rest of the unwanted mail without it clogging up your normal email box.
If you are posting your email address to a forum where only humans should be reading it, you can post it in such a way that it needs to be edited to work correctly. This also usually requires that your message has a note about reconstructing the correct address format. This is fairly common practice in the newsgroups. For example:
To send me mail, convert the above address to
a three character domain name.
I'm Getting UCE, What Can I Do To Stop It?
Unfortunately, once you start getting a lot of UCE, the only thing you can do to make sure you never get any more is to change email addresses, and then make sure to be extra careful with the new address, making sure to follow the steps outlined above. We understand that this is often not possible, so there are some things you can do.
- If you have not activated the filters on the SPAM filtering service provided with your GWI account, you should do so. If you have activated the filters and are still receiving UCE, you should increase the level of filtering to be more aggressive.
- If the UCE contains removal instructions that ask you to call a number to get removed, give it a try. At the very least you are wasting the spamming company's time and money, they same way they did with you.
- If the UCE claims to allow you to reply to it in a certain way to prevent future mailings, you can try that as well. However, in some cases, the spammers just use these replies to determine which addresses are valid, and it will only make things worse.
- Do not just reply to every UCE you receive asking for them to stop. In the majority of cases, the email addresses the UCE appears to have come from are false, and replying will do you no good.
- Send a copy of the message to email@example.com along with the full header information. The most important part is to include the headers. E-mail headers are the equivalent to a digital postmark, but much more detailed. They show each server used to send the mail, and can often be used to track the message back to the real source. With this information, we can help stop that individual or server from contacting our users again. Full header information is not displayed by default, so if you are unsure how to get this information, please contact our Technical Support Team and they can assist you.
What Is GWI Doing To Prevent UCE?
GWI provides SPAM filtering service with your Internet access account at no additional charge to you. To use it, you simply have to activate the filters. This service allows you to determine the level of filtering you want, and it is your choice whether or not to use it. You can also discontinue use at any time. To learn more about UCE, please visit http://mail-abuse.org/.
I've Never Sent UCE, But GWI Is Blocking Me! How Can I Get This To Stop?
Please understand that GWI does not wish to prevent valid email from going through. We will do our best to help you fix the problem, provided we have enough information. Regardless of whether or not your server is blocked, you should be able to send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. In this message, please include as much information as possible about the problem: the IP address of the server you are sending through, the exact error message your are receiving, etc. With this information we can assist you in fixing the problem.
If you are unable to contact use at either of the above addresses, please fill out our report form.
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