Unsolicited Commercial Email

From time to time, you may receive email in your inbox that invites you to try an Internet service of some sort.  An example is included below.

Are these Spam or a Phishing Attack?  Maybe or maybe not.  With all the recent reminders about Phishing, it is easy to see evil everywhere.  The other possibility is that they are from a marketing department of a legitimate business.  It turns out the one below is one such legit example.

The difference between Spam and Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is that Spam will not try to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act that requires that commercial messages do not try to deceive the recipient of who the sender is and provide for an ability to opt-out. (Note the opt-out link circled in red.)

Important Precautions

  • Even if you suspect that it is not Spam, your best bet is still to delete the email.  Even if you are interested in the service that they are offering—just visit their website to sign up.
  • DO NOT opt-out of email that is clearly spam as this only serves to validate that the spammers found a valid email address.
  • Do not use your company email for personal purposes and vice versa.

Using separate emails for personal and company purposes is important and helps reduce the clutter in your work email account inbox.  Besides that, if you leave your job, you may lose access to emails regarding your favorite personal websites.  Another important reason to limit the use of your company email address to business purposes is that programs can easily extract your email address from the latest viral chain mail letter that you may have forwarded on—resulting in more spam.  Using your company email only for company business helps to preserve the value of the your brand.

I recommend that you think about changing the email addresses for emails that should be associated with a personal account now.  If you can, cancel the ones that you no longer want to keep. If you want to keep receiving email, please ask yourself if this email should be going to a personal account instead of your company email address.

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