As a Computer repair specialist in the Bangor Maine area, I find myself in need of specific parts for PC’s and Mac’s and given the urgency that customers want their system’s back, I utilize every resource to get the right part ASAP. This brings me at times to Craigslist. I want to preface this by saying, not all craigslist deals are bogus, but I have found a disturbing trend of Spam generating specifically from replies I have made to craigslist. The ones I have seen are primarily sent from Russia and because I am responding to computer related sales, the Spam I am getting is for discount software. The way I was able to discern the Spam was coming from Craigslist specifically is actually the solution to the problem.
I started my online adventures in technology at a time when the internet for commercial use was in it’s infancy, so, yes right after Al Gore invented it! I was screaming across the internet at blazing speeds on my 14.4k dial up connection on my way too expensive 386/16 machine with 4 megabytes of ram, that was when someone actually published a hard copy yellow pages of the internet. As time passed I eventually opened up a yahoo email in 1997 and still have it to this day, it is now the repository of tens of thousands of Spam emails as over time I relegated this account as my garbage email address. Any online forum or inquiry that doesn’t have something to do with someone or some entity that I know or do business with gets replied to with my yahoo address.
This kind of tactic has kept my main email addresses on my own domain relatively spam free, not to say I never see an ad for a “genuine rolex” or queries on my need for Viagra or Cialis, which thankfully at 46 I am not in the market for. No I still get the occasional offer of ex Soviet block single ladies looking for Mr. Right in America, but in comparison my daily Spam intake is minimal. Out of haste one day I made the faux pas of replying to a Craigslist ad using my “good” email address. It took me a few days to make the connection that my new found techno based russian originated spam was a direct result of my craigslist responses, how I nailed it was to start another throw away account on my own domain. I quickly set up email@example.com and responded to a few ads, within 24 hours I had no replies to my inquires on items for sale, but started receiving the russian based software selling spam 3-4 times a day.
My advise is to create your own “throw away” email specifically for correspondence with unknown entities. Save yourself the hassle of a spam filled inbox and possibly risking a virus attack. When you do make a connection with someone for a purchase here is what Craigslist recommends
- Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe
- Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home
- Be especially careful when buying/selling high value items
- Tell a friend or family member where you’re going
- Take your cell phone along if you have one
- Consider having a friend accompany you
- Trust your instincts