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Hey, you get off my e-mail!

By CNN San Francisco Bureau Chief Greg Lefevre


The spammers and scammers are out in force! Comes the AOL greeting, "You've got mail!" -- and a lot of junk, too. The same goes for my other e-mail accounts. More than 80-percent of the e-mail I get is junk. Internet service providers complain that they are jammed with spam, to the point of breakdown.

"Get rich with my program." "No, get rich with MINE!"

"Get your kicks on my Web site." "No, get real kicks on mine!"

There is the paper equivalent of this stuff, and it's easy to spot by the mailing label or the "bulk rate" postage notation on the envelope. I'm getting better at spotting spam e-mail, too.

Yes, it's true sex on the Internet intrigues a lot of people. This week, we found that nearly everyone's gone to some sexy Web site at one time or another. (Boys outnumber girls five-to-one. Duh.)

But those are voluntary choices. Should we have to tolerate the avalanche of "propositions" that tumble all around us every time we log on?

A good friend spends hours each week "picking weeds" -- culling the junk from his e-mail queue. He's extremely careful not to open the suspect mail for fear of sending his e-mail address back as a receipt. Not responding is one way to slow getting hit on again.

Since very few women send me e-mail, I can pretty much guess what's behind the door marked "Tiffany says hi!"

It's something I don't want in my computer.

Hit "delete."

"Are you sure?"


You expect the porn solicitations to be sleazy. But the business propositions seem to be mining new depths as well. "Don't do a darn thing -- just buy this list and the money pours in!"

I know where it's pouring -- and it's not in this direction.

"You're an idiot if you pass this up."

What if I toss it up instead? These ads are nauseating.

Now, the boiler room sales teams have come full circle. I'm getting telephone calls from folks who got my e-mail from the Internet and looked up my number. Less than an hour ago, I was assured that my single dollar per share investment would return bounty to me five-fold by the end of summer. If his stock is really a sure thing, he's an idiot for diluting his stake by inviting me to invest.

The only e-mail spam I haven't seen in a long time is the one I want -- an effective e-mail spam filter. Maybe AOL already uses the product and the ad for it can't get through.

Surf on....

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