If you've been on the Internet for any length of time, you've probably encountered spam. Yes, spam is a canned ham product from Hormel, but that's not what I'm talking about here. In Internet lingo, spam refers to unsolicited e-mail. You can think of it as virtual junk mail. But unlike the junk mail you get in your mailbox, spam costs the sender almost nothing, so they send a lot of it. If you have a Web site or have ever posted to a newsgroup, you can count on getting spammed with increasing frequency. Spammers scour the 'net for e-mail addresses and then fire off their unwanted missives to unsuspecting recipients.
So what can you do about spam? The answer is, not much. Sometimes the spam you get includes a way to "unsubscribe" from the list. Generally, it's just a technique to make the spammer look like a fine upstanding netizen and a way for them to find out if your e-mail address really works. So, even though it may be tempting, do not follow the unsubscribe instructions. You'll just be adding fuel to the fire.
There are two things you can do to help fight spam. The first thing you can do is get an e-mail program that has spam filtering built into it. Most programs let you filter out e-mail from certain e-mail addresses or even entire domains (such as delete everything from spammerscum.com). The other option is to send a complaint to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) that hosts the spammer's account. Usually there's an address specifically for these complaints. So if you're getting spammed from firstname.lastname@example.org, you could go to the web site and see if there's an e-mail address to report spam. such as email@example.com. Be sure to follow the instructions on the web site, so they can investigate the complaint effectively.
Unfortunately, a lot of spam is forged, so you can't easily tell where it came from. If you are fed up with spam and really interested in tracking down spammers and reporting them, you'll find lots of sites on the Internet that explain how to read the e-mail "headers" that contain information on where an e-mail really came from. Tracking down spammers this way can be time consuming, but especially for really offensive spam, it may be worth it to take the time. So go for it!