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Bill's Anti-Spam Technique ...






Microsoft  PowerPoint MVP 2003-2007



How to forward jokes, and be nice to those on the receiving end …

How often to you sign in to your email program only to find it overflowing with unwanted messages.  In the past, I used to get a few hundred of these a day, yes I said hundreds.  It takes time to figure out if the email is from a real person you know or is from someone trying to steal your money or infect your computer.

Internet humor is a wonderful source of entertainment, but unfortunately it has an ugly side.  Often, these jokes have been forwarded to people who forward them.  These people in turn forward them again and so on.  Eventually, they end up in the inboxes of people who send out spam.


Spam is unsolicited emails sent from people who claim to be selling enlargement creams, Nigerian gold, or Canadian pharmaceuticals.  In most cases these folks are really after your credit card numbers and will take your money.  They operate on the theory that if only ½ of 1 % of the people emailed respond they will make millions.  In fact, they are wasting untold thousands of man-hours forcing real people to screen and delete unwanted emails.  The term spam can be used to refer to any unsolicited email.


The “name harvesters” collect the headers from emails that have forwarded over and over and pull out the email addresses as spam targets.  Often the email addresses are not shown on the email, but exist in the hidden header information of the email.  The headers contain the names and email addresses of everyone listed in the To: and CC: even if that person was not one of the people that sent this email.


To combat this you can use a wonderful technique when forwarding humor emails between your friends.  Using this technique eliminates almost all the hidden and unhidden email addresses and keeps your friends names off the spam lists.



Step one – Open the original humor email

Double click on the email to open it in a new window.



Step 2 – Open a new email message

How to do this varies from email program to program.  In Outlook and Outlook Express, it can be done by clicking on   File => New => Mail Message.



Step 3 – Copy the humor

In the original humor email, select only the humor part of the email.  Be sure that you do not copy any of the Forwarded by notes that are sometimes included.  Copy what you have selected by holding down the Ctrl button (lower left of the keyboard) and then pressing the C key once.  This process is often written as the shortcut - Ctrl+C.



Step 4 – Paste the humor in the new email

Click on the body of the new email message you created.  Paste what you have selected by holding down the Ctrl button (lower left of the keyboard) and then pressing the V key once.  Once again check the content to make sure that no email addresses are present.



Step 5 – Enter the To:

Click on the box next to the To: and enter your own email address.  This is done because most email programs insist on an email address in this field.  Do not enter any of the folks you are forwarding the humor to in this line.


Step 6 – Skip over the CC: box



Step 7 – Enter the BCC:

The BCC: field may not be shown all the time and is usually hidden by default.  The technique for showing the BCC field also varies between programs.


In Outlook Express –

            Click on View => make sure there is a check next to view all headers


In Outlook that does not use Word for email –

            Click View => BCC Field


In Outlook using Word for emails –

            Click on the small arrow next to the Options button => make sure the BCC: is checked




Once this field is available, enter all the email addresses of the people you want to forward the humor to.  These names will be hidden.  The only addresses the person receiving the email will be able to see are the one in the To: field and their own.



Step 8 – Fill in the Subject line

You can re-type what was in the subject line of the humor email, but I would suggest making sure that the subject fits the humor.



Step 9 – Press the Send button

 You're done!  You will get a copy of the email back in your inbox, just delete that when it arrives.



Now, whatever hidden email addresses and names that were in the original email have been removed.  You can rest easier knowing that you are helping protect your friends from Spam.  Once your friends understand what it is you are doing for them, they may start to do the same for you.  Remember, the fewer humor emails that contain your name, the less spam you will receive.


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Copyright © 2004-2007 Bill Dilworth
Last modified: 06/12/07