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Internet Safety

How to Prevent Spam - Seven Ways to Save Your Inbox

If you are searching for ways to get rid of spam you will find all manner of sites selling spam protection software. Although many of these programs do indeed offer protection, when it comes right down to it, no program, no matter how many stars and rave reviews it might receive, has yet to come close to the human brain when it comes to detecting and recognizing spam. Caution and common sense - that is the true secret to stopping spam. Software only offers a cure and a best-guess cure at that. We are not here to talk about cures; we are here to talk about spam prevention.

1. Abandon Ship!

If you are reading this article odds are you are already dealing with a massive spam infestation and you are looking for ways stop it. The truth is, when it gets to that stage, you cannot. Your account is already compromised and the spammers have your address so no matter how many senders you block, a hundred more will take their place. That is why it's better to just abandon your old email account and start afresh. Backup any data you wish to retain, like your address book data, and migrate it to your new account. Then send an email to those addresses - and only those addresses - that you wish to remain in contact with.

2. Be Obscure.

A popular technique used by spammers is to automatically send emails alphabetically. (Like if you were to pick up the phone book and start ringing every name from A. Aaronson to Zeke Zimmerman.) Choosing a more obscure email address will help prevent this.

3. Filter, Filter, Filter!

When choosing your new email account, be sure to investigate what spam filtering service the provider offers. Talk to your ISP or hosting provider to find out what measures they have in place. Some companies offer far better protection than others do, some offer spam protection free; others expect you to pay so shop around.

Most free email accounts also offer inbuilt filters; some are quite basic whilst others are quite elaborate. The most effective filters are those that you can set and edit yourself. This way as well as blocking specific addresses and domains, you can also block certain keywords. For example if you are getting many messages selling counterfeit watches, you could create a filter that automatically deletes any email with the keyword "Rolex" in the subject and/or email body.

4. Keep it Private!

Never, under any circumstances, publish your private email address on the web - for example on forums, blogs, groups or social networking sites. Spammers use automated programs known as spiders to trawl through the web harvesting public email addresses. All it takes is for you to publish your address once and be picked up by one of these spiders and before you know it your new account will be submerged in spam.

5. Use a Dummy Account.

Never sign up to anything online with your personal email address. Create a new account (or just use your old account - it is full of spam anyway right?) and the next time a website sign-up page requires that you give them an email address give them this dummy one instead.

6. No Chain Letters.

You probably have dozens of these, "forward this on to everyone you know and good luck will be your reward." More than likely, though, spam will be your reward.

These chain letters are a spammer's dream. Think about it, they are sent from one person to another, disseminating through offices and companies, multiplying all the while, collecting hundreds upon thousands of addresses in the process.

Beware, too, of chain letters masquerading as petitions. Even if their stated goal seems noble, they serve the same sinister purpose. If you receive an email like this from a friend, explain to them that you will not be forwarding the email and explain why. Whatever your beliefs or affiliations may be there is one thing we can all agree on - the planet does not need any more spam. If you want to fight injustice or change the world, you will do it far more effectively through acts of charity and conscientious activism than forwarding chain emails.

7. Never, EVER Reply to Spam!

Do not take it on their honor that they are going to remove you if you ask them. Spammers do not have honor that is why they are spammers. If you ask to be removed, you have just told them that your address is active, and you'll just get more spam.

In addition, whatever you do, do not ever click on links from any unsolicited emails. These links will either try to download a virus onto your computer, or will lead to a page trying to scam you or steal your personal and/or financial details.

So there you have it, all you need to know to stop spam. You don't need to fork out huge amounts of cash for spam protection software suites or anything of the sort. All you need to do is use your head and apply what you have read and enjoy your bright, new spam-free future!



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