How to prevent or lessen the onslaught of unwanted spam emailSpam, or unwanted email, is one of the biggest problems facing Internet users today. And the problem is often magnified at a small business where your Web site and email address may be public, or because you have employees who also are inundated with spam.
Though it's difficult to completely eliminate spam, you can dramatically lessen the amount of spam you receive in your inbox if you:
- Carefully control how you give out your email address
- Use junk mail controls already built into your email software
- Install additional anti-spam tools from outside providers
- Use common sense when providing your email address to outsiders or responding to offers
Use the spam filter in your email application
Include anti-spam in your Internet security softwareDon't stop with software that blocks viruses. Get a system that helps control spam as well.
Use a server-based spam filtering serviceServices that stop spam before it ever reaches your computer can be effective. These services include "white lists" and "black lists" to block senders and work with your existing email address.
Surf anonymouslyNever post your email address to forums, blogs, news groups or guest books unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must leave an email address, use a fake one or create an alternate email account that you can use just for this purpose.
Don't open spam messages or attempt to unsubscribe from unknown listsImages, attachments and offers to unsubscribe from mailing lists are common methods that spammers often use to verify that you have received their email and that your address is real.
Disguise your email address on your Web site or email signatureDon't use the mailto link on your Web page(s). Instead use an image that displays your address without a link or conceal your address by removing the @ sign: myname(at)mydomain.com. Do the same with your email signature at the bottom of your email.
Change your email addressIf you're already receiving tons of spam, retire your old address and create a new one. See the tips on choosing a new email address below. To guard against future spam, check with your mail service about filters or safe lists to "whitelist" email senders of which you approve.
Choose email addresses carefullyAvoid common or easy to guess user names such as webmaster@, info@, joe@, mary@, etc. Using your own unique domain name instead of common ones like Hotmail or Yahoo also helps.
- Avoid forwarding emails and "urban legends" that specifically ask you to forward the message to other people.
- NEVER provide your login info when receiving emails that appear to come from financial institutions such as banks, credit card companies, eBay, PayPal, etc., that ask you for such information.
- If you want to fight back, you can report spam violators by sending a copy of the email with header info to: email@example.com.
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