Basic Tips To Preventing Email Spam

Almost everyone hates spam email, cluttering up in-boxes with worthless promises of free vacations and various body part enlargement or reduction pills. Most systems administrators and hardcore computer geeks get very little spam in their inbox. Sometimes this is because of smart filters or special programs they have applied to their email servers, but most often, it’s because they know the simple spam-reduction rules that anyone can use.

Things Anyone Can do to Reduce Spam:

Have Several Email Addresses
With the many free email services out there today, it is easy to have several free email accounts. For instance, I have one that I only give to my family and friends, one that I use for business-level communications, and one that I consider a “junk” address. The “junk” address is the one I use when I have to enter an e-mail address for an on-line registration form or contest of any sort. That way, all the spam goes to the “junk” address, and email from my family and friends or my business contacts goes to other addresses, spam-free.

Don’t Make Your Private Email Address Publicly Available
Putting your email address on a web page is the quickest way to get tons of spam. If you absolutely have to publish your address, try to obscure it, so a human can read it but an automated “email address harvester” program cannot, such as “Lone Wolf at hot mail dot com” or set up a “junk” account that you only use for email from that website.

Don’t Give Your Email Address to Just Anyone
Read the privacy policy and “terms of use” statements of a website or organization before you give them your e-mail address. If it’s not clear what they plan to do with your address, you should give them a “junk” account address.

Don’t Respond to Spam
This is very important! Don’t click a link in a spammer’s email, even if it promises to remove you from their “list.” Don’t hit “reply” and send them an email. No matter how good it would feel to respond to a spammer and tell them off, DON’T! They will never read it, and all this really does is validate that your e-mail address is active and thus a good target for further spam messages. The same thing happens when you click a link in a spam email — the website it takes you to will record your information (yes, they can easily do that) and be able to see that you have a valid email address. Some spammers just collect “active” email addresses, put them in lists, and sell those lists to other spammers. Clicking that link or replying to that email makes you a target for an ever-increasing amount of spam.

Run Anti-Virus Programs
While anti-virus programs won’t detect spam, some viruses can steal your e-mail address and send it to spammers, or they can actually open up your computer to be secretly used by spammers, causing more spam to go to other people and causing your computer and internet connection to slow down dramatically.

Educate your users, friends, and family about spam, and the simple rules they can follow to get less spam. The fewer people that receive and respond to spam, the less profitable sending spam will be for the spammers!


~ by bestbooter on June 19, 2009.

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