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Dealing With The Glut of Junk Email

Unless you (or someone you love) has been affected by the water in Camp Lejeune, have a package (you don’t know about) that requires you track it, or you’re deficient in other areas, you really don’t have any need for junk mail. Besides, most, if not all of them, are not legitimate, so there’s no reason to believe there’s a kernel of truth in any of them. It seems once that the “junk” senders get ahold of your email address, it’s all over. Hearing aid offers, Yeti coolers, and donations pleas for political candidates running in other parts of the nation clog up your inbox.

All the time, people complain to me about the “junk” email they receive from CVS, Lands Ends, and Facebook.

OK, let’s get this straight for once and for all. JUNK email is unsoclicated messages you receive from senders who you’ve never dealt with – the Nigerian Prince requests, casino stuff, or financial institutions you’re not a client of. The messages from Netflix, Whole Foods and LinkedIn are NOT junk mail – they’re all companies with whom you “opted-in” – meaning you allowed them to send you emails.

And these companies are holding up their end of the bargain – you requested emails from them, and they’re delivering them. Maybe too many for your taste, but you DID subscribe to them at one point, right? SO – you can easily unsubscribe from these senders. Yes, it takes time to click on each one, but you did take the time to allow them to send you messages. In some instances, you can limit the number/types of email messages you receive from them when you click on the UNSUBSCRIBE button at the bottom of the email.

On the other hand, total junk email doesn’t come from legitimate companies – mostly from people who are trying to get hold of your hard-earned money, or perhaps a password or two. These are harder to get rid of, but to be honest, a good company (Google, Apple, or Microsoft) can filter that mess out of your inbox and dump it straight into your junk mailbox. Best way to handle – make a few targeted “rules” (see below) and ignore them.

And then, right in the middle, are the political emails. (Side note: If you ever read the drama queen-quality of these emails, you’ll think the world will end if you don’t donate!) Now, from a job I held many light years ago, I DO know that mailing lists (both hard copy and email) are bought and sold like penny stocks, and there are entire companies dedicated to the acquisition and sales of email lists, with not-for-profits and political lists being extremely popular options. So, if you subscribe to one of these lists, or worse yet, donate money, your data is being sold to other like-minded lists, a web you’ll never extract yourself from. These people are NOT your friends – they’re using your email address to make money for themselves. Be careful who you give your email address to.  


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