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Tens of thousands of consumers are unwitting accomplices of illegal spammers and at the mercy of identity thieves, warns the Federal Trade Commission.

Five-year-old Kierston Lindsey, of Evans, cools off as she splashes around the fountain at Brookfield Park in Augusta.  Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Andrew Davis Tucker/Staff
Five-year-old Kierston Lindsey, of Evans, cools off as she splashes around the fountain at Brookfield Park in Augusta.

These consumers' computers have been secretly hijacked by criminals who install spam-sending software and spyware on the computers when consumers open malicious e-mail attachments or visit a malicious Web site.

After gaining access, the criminals can track consumers' Internet surfing, steal personal information, and turn the computers into spam "zombies" that are part of a "botnet" made up of thousands of home computers through which spammers route e-mails.

In a new consumer alert, "Botnets and Hackers and Spam (Oh, My!)" available at, the FTC urges consumers to secure their personal information and stop assisting spammers by:

- Using up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software

- Setting operating system software to install security patches automatically

- Using a firewall to protect computers from hacking attacks while online

- Disconnecting from the Internet when away from the computer

- Downloading free software only from sites they know and trust

- Checking their "sent items" file or "outgoing" mailbox for messages they did not intend to send

More information is available through OnGuard

Source: U.S. Federal Trade Commission


MOVIE TUESDAY: Lady and the Tramp, 10 a.m., Appleby Branch Library, 2260 Walton Way; for ages 5 and older; (706) 736-6244

AUGUSTA ROSE SOCIETY: 7:30 p.m., First Baptist Church, 3500 Walton Way; (803) 502-0252,

SWAMPMOBILE: 10 a.m., Diamond Lakes Branch Library, 101 Diamond Lakes Way, Hephzibah; hands-on educational program of the Southeastern Natural Sciences Center; ages 8-12; registration required; (706) 772-2432

SPIRITUALITY & RELIGIONS GROUP: 7 p.m., Borders Books Music & Cafe, 257 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway; (706) 737-6962

BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR EXERCISE: 6-7 p.m., Walton Rehabilitation Hospital; (706) 823-5294

SINGLES FELLOWSHIP: 6:30 p.m., pool, pingpong and hanging out; 7 p.m., Bible study; First Baptist Church of North Augusta, 625 Georgia Ave.; meet in the administrative building; free; (803) 279-6370

NORTH AUGUSTA NETWORKERS: 11:30 a.m., North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Ave.; (803) 442-3827

ABATSU: 10 a.m., Friedman Branch Library, 1447 Jackson Road; the African cultural performing arts group, featuring music, dance and stories; for all ages; (706) 736-6758

SPEECH AND HEARING SCREENINGS: Monday-Friday by appointment; University Hospital Speech and Hearing Center, 1430 Harper St., Suite C3 or Professional Center 2, Suite 102, 4321 University Parkway, Evans; $10 for children and adults; (706) 774-5777


ART DISPLAY: North Augusta artist Martha McClard's artwork is on display through July; The Peach House Custom Picture Framing, Art Gallery and Gift Shop, 706 Edgefield Road; (803) 202-9191

AIKEN FOXHOUNDS: 7:05 p.m., School Tools Night at the University of South Carolina Aiken's Roberto Hernandez Stadium; with the United Way of Aiken County; bring a 24-count box of crayons for free admission; (803) 648-8331

FIRE SAFETY: 10 a.m., Jeff Maxwell Branch Library, 1927 Lumpkin Road; presented by the Augusta Fire Department; (706) 793-2020

GEORGIA-CAROLINA TOASTMASTERS: Noon, The Cotton Patch, 816 Cotton Lane; (803) 593-6605

AMBASSADORS MEETING: 8 a.m., North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, 302 Georgia Ave.; (803) 279-2323


IMPERIAL THEATRE: Purple Rain; $2; happy hour 7 p.m., movie at 8 p.m.; Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.;

MOVIE THURSDAY: Berenstain Bears Team Up, 10 a.m., Appleby Branch Library, 2260 Walton Way; ages 3-4; (706) 736-6244

SUPERHERO COLLAGE: 2 p.m., Diamond Lakes Branch Library, 101 Diamond Lakes Way, Hephzibah; create a collage using superhero comics; for teens; registration required; (706) 772-2432

MUSIC IN THE PARK: 7 p.m., Montana Skies will perform; Maude Edenfield Park, 400 Buena Vista Ave.; free; (803) 442-7588

FRENCH CLUB: 7 p.m., Borders Books Music & Cafe, 257 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway; (706) 737-6962

JOINT EFFORTS: 11-11:45 a.m., Augusta Orthopedic Clinic, 1521 Anthony Road; seminar on hip and knee pain, with tips for treatment, medicine, food, exercise; (706) 481-7604


AUGUSTA SOUTHERN NATIONALS: 8 a.m. gates open, 9 a.m. races begin Friday-Sunday; Augusta Riverfront Marina; advance tickets: $15 for Saturday or Sunday, $18 for Saturday and Sunday; tickets at gate $25 each day; Friday, free admission; Patron Pass, $50, includes admission during the race to the air-conditioned Riverfront Pavilion, which has a bar and souvenir table; coolers, food and drinks cannot be brought on site; benefits local chapter of the Georgia Special Olympics;

MIDNIGHT MAGIC COSTUME PARTY: 9 p.m., Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1336 Augusta West Parkway; celebrating the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, on sale at midnight; prizes, photo opportunities, trivia, face painting and a potions demonstration by the Augusta State University chemistry department; (706) 860-2310

GRAND HALLOWS BALL: At about 9 p.m., Borders, 257 Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway; final Harry Potter novel available (while supplies last) at midnight; Potter spelling bee, Great Snape Debate, dress in ball attire or as your favorite character for costume contest; (706) 737-6962

POTTER RELEASE PARTY: 9 p.m., Books-A-Million, 2834 Washington Road; face painting, wand making, costume contest, trivia; book on sale at midnight; (706) 481-9090

LUCKY STIFF: Dinner 7 p.m., show 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and July 26-28; Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, Third Avenue, Building 32100, Fort Gordon;

JENNIFER BRANTLEY AND BAND: Still Water Tap Room, 974 Broad St.; (706) 826-9857

MOVIES UNDER THE STARS: Ice Age, Gates open at 6:30 p.m., movies start at dusk; Columbia County Amphitheater, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd., Evans; $1 admission, benefits Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center; (706) 721-4004,


CSRA ELECTRONICS RECYCLING DAY: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Discovery, 1 Seventh St.; unacceptable items include TVs, electric ovens, microwave; (706) 821-0224

COMMUNITY PICNIC: Noon to 4 p.m., Dyess Park, 902 James Brown Blvd; food, drinks, games, door prizes, and live entertainment; attendees are urged to bring a school supply;

FUN WITH ART: 2 p.m., 1927 Jeff Maxwell Branch Library, Lumpkin Road; bring colored markers and pencils; ages 10-16; registration required; (706) 793-2020


CANDLELIGHT JAZZ SERIES: Bert Ligon Piano Trio, 8-9:30 p.m., Eighth Street bulkhead at Riverwalk Augusta; $6; (706) 821-1754

PATRICK BLANCHARD: 2 p.m., Morris Museum of Art, 1 10th St.; part of the Southern Roots Music Series; refreshments and conversation with the artist afterward; free; (706) 724-7501

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