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Email Security: Spam, Phishing and Hoaxes

What is spam?

Spam is unwanted, unsolicited commercial email that typically contains a link, advertisement or file attachment that can compromise security, or infect computers with malicious software when opened.

The primary goal of a spammer is to make money, and sending spam is cheap. The more messages spammers can deliver, the greater chance the recipient will open the message and make a purchase.

 

Why do I receive spam?

You may receive spam for a variety of reasons. For example, if you've used your email address to sign up for an online service or posted your email address on a public webpage, it could be copied and used for unsolicited mail or distributed to other spammers.

 

How can I help reduce the amount of spam I receive?
  • Don't open message attachments from unknown sources and don't purchase anything from spam messages. Simply delete spam messages without opening them.
  • Create a filter or rule for your inbox to delete unwanted messages.
  • If you receive a suspicious email, mark it as spam so that similar messages can be blocked in the future.
  • Spectrum email has a built-in spam filtering system. All emails flagged and moved to the spam folder will be automatically reported to help refine our filtering system. Messages are permanently deleted from the Spam folder after 14 days and after three days in the Trash folder.
  • If you're using a mail client such as Outlook or Outlook Express, consider using a spam filtering program.
  • Report spam to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov. Be sure to include the full email headers.
How does Spectrum help me avoid spam?

Spectrum helps block spam by using anti-spam filters. These special devices utilize optical character recognition (OCR) to filter out messages that contain key words, phrases, and images commonly found in spam. We block approximately 150 million spam messages per day from reaching our customers.

In addition to using anti-spam filters, Spectrum offers comprehensive Security Suite software with built-in spam control. 

 

What if I’m Getting Excessive Amounts of Spam?

If you’re receiving hundreds or thousands of spam messages a day, this may be a sign that you are a victim of fraud. Criminals who have stolen your payment information (credit cards, PayPal, etc.) often try to flood your inbox with spam messages in hopes that you won't notice legitimate emails about transactions you didn’t authorize. If you’ve received excessive amounts of spam email, you should:

  • Check all of your online accounts and verify recent transactions. You should change your password, too.
  • Check the boxes next to the spam messages and mark them as spam.
  • If possible, add senders to the blocked senders list.
  • If you can identify the source of the spam, you can configure your router to prevent incoming packets from that address.
  • You can also contact the sites you've identified to alert them to the spamming activity.
  • If you need assistance with any of these matters, please contact us.
What’s an email hoax?

An email hoax is a message that attempts to trick or deceive the recipient into forwarding that message by creating a sense of urgency or with a promise of rewards. Email hoaxes often contain request to "Send this message to everyone you know" or some version of that statement. Other examples of email hoaxes include: chain letters, bogus virus information, free gift certificates, etc.

 

What should I do if I receive an email hoax?

We recommend that you refrain from passing on chain letters, jokes and rumors. The best practice is to simply delete the message.

 

Where can I find more information on the latest email hoaxes and false alerts?

The following pages contain information on the latest email hoaxes and false alerts:

What is phishing?

Phishing is a form of internet fraud that utilizes spoofed emails (fake email addresses pretending to represent a trusted sender) to lead the recipient to a fake website. The fake website is designed to trick the recipient into disclosing financial information such as credit card numbers, account usernames, passwords or Social Security Numbers.

 

 

What Should I Do if I Receive a Spoofed or Phishing Email?

If you received a spoofed email claiming to be from Charter Communications, don't alter the email and forward the email in its entirety, including email header information to phishing@charter.net .

If you received a spoofed email claiming to be from a company other than Charter Communications, forward the email in its entirety to the company that is being spoofed. Most organizations also have information on their websites about reporting unwanted communications or abuse.

You should also forward the phishing email to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov and the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@antiphishing.org.

For more information about phishing, visit:

What Should I Do if I Responded to a Phishing Email?

Responding to a phishing email may or may not lead to identity theft. As a safety precaution, contact the three credit reporting bureaus below, and place a fraud alert on your credit report. Initial fraud alerts last for 90 days.

Each credit reporting agency has established a nationwide toll-free number for reporting potential fraud:

  • Equifax: (800) 525-6285
  • Experian: (888) 397-3742
  • TransUnion: (800) 680-7289

Placing a fraud alert with the credit reporting agencies entitles you to a free copy of your credit report. Review your credit report carefully and look for suspicious activity. You should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission as well. The complaint form for the FTC can be found here.