How can I avoid and deal with spam mail?

Spam mail is any unsolicited mail message in your inbox, generally used as a form of advertising or solicitation. Spammers collect mail addresses from chatrooms, websites, customer lists, newsgroups, and viruses that harvest users' address books. In the first half of 2010, 80% of all electronic mail was spam.

Spam is increasingly sent from computers infected by computer viruses. It’s important for all Verse users to install and maintain anti-virus software to avoid having their computer infected and possibly become a source of spam without their knowing.

"Phishing", where messages appear to be sent from legitimate financial institutions, in an effort to trick users into "verifying" sensitive data (such as credit card information) is becoming more and more common.

If you receive mail from a web site or company urging you to provide confidential information, such as a password or Social Security number, you might be the target of a phishing scam. Be on the lookout for the following signs of a phishing attempt:
  • A sender's mail address that is similar to, but not the same as, a company's official mail address.
  • Mail containing phrases like "your account will be closed," "your account has been compromised," or "urgent action required."
  • Mail sent with a generic greeting, such as "Dear Customer" or "Dear Member".
  • Links to fake websites, such as URLs containing an official company name, but in the wrong location or subtly misspelled.
  • Spelling errors, poor grammar, or inferior graphics.
  • Requests for personal information such as your password, Social Security number, or bank account or credit card number.
  • Mail messages with attachments (which might contain viruses or keystroke loggers, which record what you type).