Oh no! My email address got blasted out by my new friend, a business associate, or maybe Mom. What to say?

The premise here is that email blasts occur regularly and usually it involves a sales deal, an event of some kind, or around a cause.  Chain letters are another notorious source for guilt-tripping the recipient to forward it out to all your friends or else be a real lousy individual; and these actually still work year in year out.

The blast can be done safely if people still feel compelled to send such multi-recipient messages out to people who are otherwise complete strangers of each other.  How?   Use the BCC field of course.  Well that of course assumes you knew about BCC.  If you didn’t this post isn’t for you though; rather, it is about you.

My dilemma as a responsible technology professional is to advocate for safe usage of the internet, for people to maintain privacy, and for their identity to remain secure from SPAM’rs or worse.  Often I am doing this with people I’m often barely acquainted.  The internet and email is not as intimate as a face to face heart to heart chat.  It’s a touchy thing to only have email to have these ‘talks’.  So what has been done is that after a blast offense occurs I’ll send an email back to the originator with a scripted reply message.

This blog is written because, I want to know what other people say. Do you say anything at all?  How does my message stack up against what you are saying?  Please comment away as I’d like to make it effective and brief.  …so here goes:

Thank you for considering my interest and sharing this information with me.

I’ve got a small request that I hope you’ll honor.  As a technology service provider and small business owner, information security and privacy are key issues that I must guard for my own sake and for my clients.  Please understand that by including my name and email address in the ‘To’  or ‘CC’ field populated with many others that some of them may again forward the email much like you have.  If they do then my email address and identity get circulated.  This then exposes my email identity as well as any others in the To and CC fields to future SPAM and other undesirable unintended consequences.

The good news is this is an unnecessary risk; so I have an easy fix and request.  In the future when and if you send an email to me along with an audience of others (a blast message) please add me to the ‘BCC’ (blind carbon copy) field and not to not to the “To” or “Cc” fields; in practice it would be a good neighborly thing to do this for everyone who’s a recipient.  This on the net is called good “netiquette” and an overall appreciated best practice by anyone who’s ever received SPAM or who has had their identity stolen (I have).  As for what address to put in the “To” field just insert your own email or any secondary email address.  It is important though that the address be valid or else this is a criteria which SPAM filters will trigger and the email may not reach some of your BCC recipients.

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