Monday, August 27, 2007


One of the first things I do when I return home from “wandering” is to check my email at When I did so late Sunday afternoon I discovered 127 new messages waiting for me in my “in box”.

· 20 of these messages were “MAILER-DAEMON” or similar emails notifying me that my “auto-response” had been returned undeliverable. All were deleted

· 12 were “FWs” of presumed jokes (every now and then a political or religious message is forwarded) from a fraternity brother and client. I almost never open a FW – except on occasion from this source, as he has sent some good stuff in the past, when I get a “vibe” from the subject line. What “burns my toast” about FWs is that you have to scroll down what seems to be 20 pages listing the various email addresses of each of the recipients of each forward before you get to the “meat”. My email system allows me to forward an email as “inline text” and edit the email so that I can erase all the various headings and send only the “meat”. Why can’t other email systems do the same thing – or are the senders of forwards just too lazy to edit them? All were deleted.

· 31 (about 24%) were actual legitimate messages – responses to emails I sent and requested updates and subscriptions.

· That leaves 64 “spam” messages – one more than half of all the emails! These included solicitations for some form of Viagra or Cialis (who is spreading these nasty rumors – granted I am not 25 anymore, but there is still life in the old boy yet), to refinance my mortgage (I have never owned real estate in my life), to provide urgent help in freeing up millions of dollars held in some third world country (as I mentioned in an earlier posting), and, of course, all kinds of “sexually explicit content”. All were deleted.

I have three (3) email addresses – the one discussed above, one with (my “home page”) and a third with I use the address when emails sent from are treated as “spam” and not delivered (as occasionally happens) and the for rare personal emails when I want to remain relatively anonymous (I hardly ever send emails from this address). I can count on the fingers of one hand the total number of spam I have received at the address in the past year. I get about 30 unsolicited spam emails a day at, even though I have sent at most only a dozen emails from this address in the past six (6) years - how do they get this address?

A word to the wise - I never open a message unless I recognize the name or email address of the sender, or the “Subject Line” properly identifies the message content (i.e. “comment on a WANDERING TAX PRO posting” or “Tax Question” or “I got a notice from the IRS”). Now don’t go sending me spam with “Tax Question” in the “Subject Line”! I am sure there have been a few occasions over the years when I have deleted unopened a legitimate message from a client whose email address was unknown and “Subject Line” entry was unclear or blank. I also do not open what I assume to be “are we there yet” messages for returns/GD extensions I have not yet begun – I save these and wait until I am ready to “go to press” before opening them.

Oh well – I guess there is really nothing I can do except “grin and bear it”.


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