When spammer uses your email address
Q: I found someone periodically using my email address to send mass emails to my friends and myself advertising some medications. I never disclose my...
Special to The Seattle Times
Q: I found someone periodically using my email address to send mass emails to my friends and myself advertising some medications. I never disclose my password to anyone. Is there any fix?
— Lee Zhang
A: Spammers often employ "spoofed" email addresses. There are a variety of ways they could be getting your address.
The first thing to do is to make sure they haven't hacked in to your account and are using it to send mail. Check your Sent mail folder to see if mail you didn't send is going out.
Another sign comes when people in your contact list receive email supposedly from you. This appears to be what's happening to you. Changing your password will guard against future occurrences.
If the problem recurs in short order, however, it's possible you're infected with a virus that is reporting your password entries to the hacker. Make sure you've got up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
More commonly, users' addresses are harvested from other locations, then used by spammers. There's nothing you can do about this.
Q: I have an old rubbishy laptop that I've reformatted about 50 times, changed hard drives, RAM, etc. I have a hard drive in it that's a bit too energy hungry for its power supply. All I use it for is work such as basic set up of routers, network switches and configuration of various equipment.
A forum member mentioned in another thread that the cheapo flash drives have a limited read/write capability. Would that affect me too much? All I run are the default programs that come with Ubuntu — actually all I run is the browser and terminal. I store nothing on it.
— Hibernian, Plugging In Tech Forum member
A: I would recommend against a flash drive for running any operating system. Solid-state drives that use flash memory allow a limited number of write operations, and operating systems tend to do a lot of writing to drives. Solid-state drives that use DRAM, which are more expensive, do not have such a limitation.
Flash drives are really best suited for carrying data from one location to another and for long-term storage of data you don't need to access frequently.
In fact, I'm moving data I've been storing on DVDs onto flash drives for long-term storage. The fact is, any CD or DVD that has been "burned" rather than "cut" could deteriorate in under five years. Data on a flash drive that is rarely written to should be safe for decades, so long as it is stored in an environmentally friendly location.
Q: My email in one of my accounts in Outlook is gone — not only the ones in the inbox, but also the ones saved in folders. Can someone please help? Also, is there a way for the email in Gmail not to be automatically removed once downloaded to my computer? I went to Gmail and everything is also gone..
— 21721mp, member of the Plugging In Tech Users Forum
A: Let's address the second question first. Assuming you're using Outlook 2010, go to the File menu and select Account Settings. In the dialog box that pops open, choose the account you want to modify and select the Change option. Next, click on the More Settings button. When the new dialog box opens, click on the Advanced tab. Finally, put in a check in the box next to "Leave a copy of messages on the server."
As for the issue of emails disappearing, check filters and rules to see if the program has somehow been instructed to delete or forward messages..
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