Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Take our survey!

I'm seeing lots of spam asking me to take a survey. For example, I recently had one that claimed to be from Amazon, claiming to be a survey about "your recent purchase". Well, actually I have made a purchase from Amazon recently. It's coming up to Chrismas, millions of people will have done the same. I don't know what happens when you visit the "survey" site - nothing good, I'd guess.

Here's another one, apparently from "Star Bucks".

Complete the survey to unlock coupons and deals.

Notice the special spelling of "starbuckss". That's another link I'm not going to click on.

So how do you stop people from clicking on links like this? You won't do it by educating them - you can't even educate people not to risk their lives by texting while they drive. But here's a way to stop most of the unthinking clicks.

I use Alpine. Alpine is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The great thing about Alpine is that it isn't a browser-based email system. This gives me several advantages.

1) Javascript can't run
2) Pictures don't display
3) I can't click on attachments
4) Any links in the email, can't be clicked on. I can tab to the link then press enter, but that runs Lynx, a text-only browser that doesn't do javascipt.

Occasionally, I do get a problem because it seems to be a universal assumption that *everyone* runs a browser-based emailer. I can get round that problem my doing a cut-and-paste of the link from the email to a browser.

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