Fooling online pests; shopping for mortgages


A simple way to fool online pests

If you have to post your e-mail address on a message board, Web site, or online directory, you'll foil spammers if you spell out the address rather than using abbreviations. Others using the site will be able to reach you, but not the "bots" that comb the Web for e-mail addresses to sell. An e-mail address posted as "bob smith at domain name dot com" rather than the more typical "" received no junk mail, according to the results of a six-month study of spamming tactics by the Center for Democracy and Technology, a public policy advocacy group.

Shopping around for mortgages or insurance is worth the trouble

Only about 40 percent of the public checks with different companies to get the best prices and coverage for life, auto, and health insurance, says a survey sponsored by, an online financial information company. Nearly 60 percent don't even know how much coverage they should have.

People tend to be more careful about mortgages. Three quarters of those with a mortgage say they comparison-shopped for the best deal. Those did will on a financial literacy test paid an average of 6.46 percent interest on their mortgage, compared to the 7.5 percent interest rate paid by those who flunked.


Yvonne Wollenberg. Online UPDATES.

Medical Economics

May 9, 2003;80.