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Defeating Spam and Pranks with Internet Fax

Ring Central Blog

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As part of mundane office life, fax machines couldn’t avoid becoming targets or props in comedy. Among the most famous are probably the faxes from the future in season 3 of “The Office.” But faxes can come from all over the place, including, apparently, outer space:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=XoD0M91W7Vk

The road warrior who doesn’t take advantage of internet faxing has to find another way to send and receive hard copy documents. Maybe this is how they do it:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=9nZaItYEjg0

Not all fax “humor” is funny, though. Fax spam is bad enough. There’s something darkly twisted about wasting your paper and ink on sending you advertisements for special deals on paper and ink. Pranksters can be worse. The traditional “practical jokes” include the black page, which is basically faxing someone a completely black page that eats up fax ink. The other annoying prank is the endless page. This involves a long sheet of paper with the ends fastened together to make a large loop. Since the looped page never ends, their fax machine keeps sending and sending until you either hang up, or your fax machine runs out of ink or paper. Since most of these are done at late-night hours over the weekend, the chances of someone seeing what’s going on and stopping it are pretty slim. Some older machines will actually break under the stress of printing continuously for hours.

Of course, both of these assume you use paper and toner. Online fax doesn’t print a thing until you want it to. And since it records the number where the offending fax is coming from, you can then block it. But if you’re still concerned about those faxes from space, you can always join the Million Fax March on Washington to learn the truth.

Originally published May 26, 2009, updated Aug 12, 2020

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