You're Not Mailing Spam, But It Sure Looks Like You Are

Friends don't spam friends.

That seems pretty obvious. Yet we all get spam that appears to come from friends, relatives, and co-workers. And unless you hang out with a pretty seedy crowd, that seems unlikely.

When Twin Cities blogger R.C. Johnson got spam allegedly from a friend, he posted about it. "Knowing that my friend would not be one that would be sending out links to a Canadian pharmacy selling Viagra, Cialis, antibiotics, pain killers, etc., I called him immediately and alerted him to the email." That's the wise thing to do.

But what if you're the one who's apparently sending out spam?

In all probability, someone with a serious ethics deficiency has stolen or figured out your password, and is spamming from your email address. They're sending the mail to people with your address book, and for good reason. Since these people receive legitimate mail from you, their spam filters will likely let the spam through.

The first thing you need to do is try to change your email account's password. If you succeed, you have probably fixed the problem already. (Well, almost. You'll still have to email apologies to everyone you know.)

But if the malefactor changed the password first, you'll be locked out of your own email account. Contact your mail provider to see what you can do about this.

The best solution, of course, is to keep the problem from ever happening. Use a strong password, a long one made up of seemingly random numbers and letters. Be wary of emails asking for your password. In fact, don't even email it to people you trust; emails can be easily read by tech-savvy criminals.

As an extra precaution, use Trend Micro's Data Theft Prevention, which comes with Titanium Internet Security and Titanium Maximum Security. This program will help protect your passwords. And since cybercriminals use malware to steal your passwords, keep Titanium up to date, as well.

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