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Unsolicited or hoax email

Unsolicited email (known as 'spam') continues to be a problem for many people. However there are steps you can take to reduce the amount you receive:

  • Only give your email address out to people you want to have it
  • If you buy online, read the terms and conditions carefully and tick the box which prevents the retailer forwarding your details to others. Only use sites which are trusted.
  • Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) – they can block future emails from an identified sender.
  • Once an ISP believes their network is being  used to send unlawful, unsolicited email, they can block all further emails sent to its subscribers from a specific address of domain.
  • Never reply to spammers and never buy anything from them.
  • Adjust settings on your email so junk email is filtered away.
  • Invest in a spam filter

Chain messages

  • A hoax or chain message is any message (email, text, website) that encourages the reader to pass it on to others.
  • Chain messages can range from promises of money (a lottery win for example), stories promising good luck to hoax virus alerts. They are started for a number of reasons including generating money, harvesting personal data (email addresses), virus attacks and clogging up a network.
  • Chain messages can be annoying, offensive and sometimes threatening. Some even contain illegal content and by passing it on, you could be committing a criminal offence.


If you receive a message:

  • Never forward on a message you suspect is a chain message
  • Never click on any links or attachments.
  • Never reply to a chain message, even if it says 'unsubscribe'
  • Delete it.
  • Report the scam to the Citizens Advice consumer service - call 03454 040506.

How to avoid chain messages:

  • Choose an email address that is difficult for others to guess i.e. no names, ages, locations
  • Don't put your email address on the internet
  • Use a separate email account to your work or personal one when entering competitions etc. online

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