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How to Find Out Who is Spamming You

Have you ever wondered how you get spam? Now you can find out where it comes from. The first step is to get a free Gmail account. Gmail was in beta for two years and it was a major status symbol to have a Gmail account because you could only be invited to get one. Now that it is out of beta, anyone can get a free account.

Gmail has an interesting quirk in which you can add a plus sign (+) after your Gmail address, and it'll still get to your inbox. This feature is called plus-addressing, and it essentially gives you an unlimited number of e-mail addresses to play with. The really cool feature is that all these new addresses you make up on the fly come to the SAME inbox. The major difference: You can see which plus-address (like the last name of your email) and from where they came.

The easiest way to do this would be to use the name of the company or service you were signing up at. Say your address was John@Gmail.com and you were signing up at Monsanto. You would simply sign up as John+Monsanto@gmail.com and it would still come to your inbox. The difference: If you started receiving emails from companies other than Monsanto, you'd know Monsanto sold your address and was spamming you.

When you get a spam email, all you need to do is look at the top of the email once you open it in Gmail. If it is to your primary address (as in John@Gmail.com), it will state from who it is from and then to "me." If it is from one of the plus-addresses you created, however, it will have whomever it is from but then it will say to John+Monsanto (or whatever other plus-address you created). Then you will INSTANTLY know who gave them your address.

The beautiful thing about this system: You could put a filter on those plus-addresses so all of them would go into your spam folder and you would never have to see them again.

Modern Day Alchemist September 5, 2006

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