Spamming refers to the practice of flooding the inboxes with an unsolicited emails addressed to hundreds or thousands of recipients in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. It has also been called "junk e-mail". 

How do spammers get my address?

E-mail spam lists are often created by scanning stealing mailing list addresses or by searching the web for addresses. Online directories are another source of e-mail addresses. The more internet activity you participate in with your email address, the more likely you'll end up in a spam list.

What should I do if I receive "spam"?

  1. DO NOT REPLY to the spam message. This can inadvertently cause all original addressees to receive the reply, causing another flood. Mailing lists can explode into thousands of recipients. NEVER retaliate with more spam; you're just exacerbating the problem.
  2. DO NOT respond to "instructions to remove me from the mailing list". Most often, this will result in a bounced (rejected) mail message to you. It may also result in hardening your address onto spam lists, as it serves as a confirmation that your account is active and the mail is being read. For advertising purposes, this makes your address more valuable.
  3. Report the spam - see How To Report A Phishing Scam or Spam Email for instructions. We will examine the message headers and take action if we can determine the source or relay site for the message. We are most interested in reports of e-mail spam that originate from within the University, or that are offensive to you.
  4. Make sure your Junk Email Filtering is turned on.  Filtering the mail is particularly helpful if you are unlucky enough to receive offensive spam. In most instances, if you do not respond to the mail, it will stop in a short period of time. Be patient, and it will eventually stop.

Make it stop!!!!

Spam is one of the unavoidable pitfalls of being on the internet. It is almost impossible to prevent because any user with an e-mail address can "spam" any other valid e-mail address or public electronic forum. The only foolproof prevention is to disconnect from the internet.

Limit your personal/recreational use of the internet from your University account and use a personal email account instead. Many web sites capture information about visitors without their knowledge and then use it later for unsolicited advertising. 

In all cases, if you are feeling threatened, report the activity to the Department of Public Safety at 335-5022.  For more information regarding IT security issues, see IT Security.

Article number: 
Last updated: 
August 4, 2017