Loretta from Charlotte, NC writes:

Not a computer malfunction, but tried the few I know and still need help.  I am 82 yr old woman and receiving on a daily basis the most vile, filthy emails you can imagine. They come with all different names and addresses (so I can block any) I don’t want to open them for fear of getting even more. I tried writing to Spam@gov.,tried the FTC but they require the headers. Since AOL shows the first line of an email I know how vile they are.  This has been going on for at least 4 months and think there should be “somewhere or someone” that I can contact to get it stopped.  Do any of you have a clue?  I am sickened with this harassment.  Thank you

Loretta, the good news is that these e-mails are almost certainly not directed at you personally. Most likely it is randomly generated spam or someone you know accidentally opened the wrong e-mail and that resulted in everyone on their contact list being bombarded  with highly inappropriate spam.

You first line of defense is AOL. Even if you are using an e-mail client like Outlook to download your messages, go to http://www.aol.com and select Read Mail.

 Make sure you mark these e-mails as spam, so AOL is informed. You don’t need to open the e-mail to mark it, just put a check beside it and select SPAM at the top of your inbox.

You’ll want to make sure you have your Spam filter turned on in AOL. Click Options in the upper-right of your AOL inbox. It’s just below your username.

Choose Mail Settings from the drop-down menu.

To the far left, select Spam Settings.

You’ll see options to set various levels of Spam Control.

Your current level of Spam Filter will be displayed in green. Click the arrow beside it to change the level. If the Spam Filter is Off or set to Low, you may wish to change it to medium or high to help block those offensive e-mails.

Just below that, you’ll see your content filter options.

If you select Block mail containing specific words and phrases, you can enter particular words or phrases. E-mails containing those words or phrases will be blocked from your account. Just type in the word and hit the + sign to add it to the list. Considering some of the messages you are receiving, it might not be a pleasant task, but might be worth the effort not to receive them.

After you’ve made the changes, don’t forget to select Save Settings.

~ Cynthia