When Spam Attacks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Every communication medium has its share of problems, butemail "spam" has to be the worst. Through massive, anonymous mailings,companies advertise their products or services to millions of consumers eachday.

Since bulk email messages are sent randomly, most products have nouse or appeal to those receiving them. A 16-year-old obviously is not interestedin a dental health-care plan or trip to Florida when one must be at least 18 tobe eligible. Also, almost no one subscribing to a free email service has $35,000to invest in a hole-in-the-wall laundromat. What were these people thinking? Theonly things created by bulk email are annoyed consumers.

Since emailcan be anonymous, con artists are protected from discovery and prosecution. Theyfeel untouchable and fearless and lose all taste and respect for privacy. If anunseen criminal is the most dangerous, and there is no reliable way to verify theidentity of an online retailer, one is vulnerable to fraud when conductingtransactions via email. Many spam messages request monetary compensation fortheir services, so "free" offers are not what they seem. Basically, ifan Internet offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Another scaminvolving email is the instructions on how to remove your address from a mailinglist. Your response just confirms your address is valid. Responding to thesemessages is self-defeating.

Since an email address is one simple line ofinformation, it can easily be processed and distributed. In fact, spammers havethe nerve to offer the sale of addresses by email. Apparently, they think thepeople who get spammed wish to impose the annoyance on others. To add to theinsult, the price is amazingly cheap: 500 "working" email addresses areonly $30. It is frightening that massive numbers of individuals' personalinformation are casually bought and sold. Even if one never gives out his or heraddress, it can be obtained by hackers and spammers.

Half of all emailtraffic is spam, which raises rates and slows connection speeds. Many havelimited time to read their email, and having to sort through a bunch of junk isnot how they want to spend that time.

Email is an affordable, fast way tocommunicate, but thanks to spam, it can be a source of frustration and disgust.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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