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Why are people claiming I'm spamming them?

Twice now I have received an e-mail telling me that spam is
being sent from my pc. My and my ISP has been most uncooperative about helping
me fix my problem. They keep telling me that I have a hidden proxy server and I
need to get rid of it.

It’d be nice if your ISP could help you more, but I understand their
position as well. They’re even more overwhelmed by spam than you are.

It’s possible you have a real problem. It’s also very possible, perhaps even
likely, that you have no problem at all.

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To begin with, make sure you run an up-to-date virus and a spyware scan.
This should normally take care of most real issues that you might be
experiencing. My two articles How do I remove and avoid spyware? and How do I keep myself safe from Viruses? have recommendations for several anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.

You should also be aware that there are fake emails claiming that
you’re sending spam, when in fact they’re just virus emails themselves. Be sure
to never open any attachments such a message might contain.

And finally, it’s also very common lately for your from address to be used
in “spoofed” email; email that looks like it comes from you, when in fact
you had nothing to do with it. The result is you can start getting bounce
messages for email that you never sent. Someone’s
sending from my email address! How do I stop them?!
has more on this.

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