Top 5 Things You Can Do To Stop Spam

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Monday, 28 November 2011 20:20

Spam hardly needs an introduction. Anyone with an e-mail account knows the frustration of being inundated with offers for discount pills and financial propositions from Nigerian princes. Prior to the 1980’s Spam (Shoulder Pork and hAM) was a budget canned meat product made by Hormel. Today, just as its namesake in the popular Monty Python sketch was in every dish on the menu, spam is an unwelcome ingredient in everyone’s inbox. So how does one best go about preventing and filtering out unwanted junk? Here are the 5 most effective ways to accomplish that.

Don’t make your email address(es) public.
It is estimated that 95% of all junk e-mail is caused when you either post your address to a public forum or you make it available on your website. Programs called robots are continually and automatically scanning websites for e-mail addresses to send junk to. If you own a website the best way to deal with this is to provide your clients with a contact form rather than a direct email link. If you must provide an email address consider asking your developer to either use a graphic to display it or generate the text dynamically using a script.

Use Spam blocking tools.
Most webmail providers offer them, or you can download one:

Report Spam.
Before you delete your spam, forward it to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it as this is the Spam box for FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Mail sent to this box is investigated. If it is indeed spam, the original sender can be charge $500 per email. The more mail they get from different users but same spammer, the more it's likely to be investigated– don’t just delete it.

Be clever when filling out forms or creating new accounts.
Many web forms ask only for your name and email address. Put in a series of letters such as ‘qwerty’ either in place of or as a part of your name. Then set up a filter for e-mails that contain that version of your name so that they will be placed in a separate folder. If those e-mails turn out to be spam, then set your mail program to delete all e-mails that come in with that name.

Use different addresses for different purposes.
Have one main account, and never, ever give this address to anyone, even your friends, who would only have to send you an innocent e-card to get you on a spam mailing list.

Then:

As anti-spam filters become more sophisticated so do the spammers, so even though we may not see spam eliminated in our lifetime, implementing these five basic strategies can go a long way to help keep it at bay.

~Steven Barnes