7 simple things you can do reduce spam

Below we have tips and tools you can use to help reduce the amount of Spam you receive in your inbox.. Although there is no foolproof way to prevent you from getting Spam, there a few simple things you can do to reduce the amount of Spam you receive in your inbox.


1. Change your email address to something that is not "guessable": Spammers use “dictionary” attacks to find new valid email addresses to add to their lists - they generate thousands of random email addresses from lists of standard names and words and try them against the mail server. If your email address is joe@yourdomain.com you are far more likely to end up on a spammer's mailling list than if your address is joe.myers@yourdomain.com or joe9867@yourdomain.com. With this and the other suggestions below you will greatly reduce the amount of junk you get bothered with.


2. Give spam a home: If you shop online, or enter contests, or like to request “more information” on the web, you could unwittingly be giving your e-mail address to spammers. The trick, then, is not to give them your primary address. Set up an alternative e-mail account with Yahoo, Hotmail, or any free service and use that address when you’re asked to enter an e-mail address on a web form. This account will get hammered with spam, but who cares? (In fact, some of the free e-mail services have pretty good spam filtering.) Note that major online retailers such as Amazon.com have strict privacy policies—available on their websites—about reselling your personal information. Such organizations usually can be trusted with your primary e-mail address.


3. Don’t advertise your e-mail address: Spammers use sophisticated software to search the web for e-mail addresses. If your website contains your e-mail address, you could wind up on a spammer’s mailing list. See the "Tools" section below for ways to publicize your e-mail address without giving your e-mail address to spammers. 


4. "Unsubscribe" and "Remove" at your peril: Oftentimes a spam message contains a link that promises to unsubscribe you or to take your name off a company’s mailing list. Be careful clicking such a link because spammers use such links to determine whether your e-mail account is active. By clicking the link you may invite an avalanche of spam. This also applies to simply replying to a spam message asking them to remove you from their list - don't do it. In such situations you need to consider the source: Land’s End will stop sending you e-mail at your request; a spammer touting the latest “grow your inadequate body part” scheme probably won’t.


5. Disable image display in your email application: If your email application automatically displays images contained within email messages you should disable that feature. These images are sometimes retreived off of remote servers and are tagged with a coded reference to your email address. When the image is downloaded the tag is recorded and the spammer will know that you received their message - validating that your email address is active.


6. Be discreet: Don't provide your e-mail address on bulletin boards, newsgroup postings, or websites unless you know that the owners of the site will not give out your information. Always read the privacy statement of a site before providing your e-mail address. Don't send electronic greeting cards unless the site's privacy statement guarantees that your information (including the e-mail address of the person you're sending the card to) will not be given away to anyone.

7. Get active: Since you and your business rely heavily on email you should get active in solving the spam problem. It is getting worse every day and is threatening to remove any usefullness email or the Internet may have. There is only so much we or any other service provider can do to reduce Spam - there is no switch we can flip or button to press that will eliminate it. Anything we do to enhance our mail systems or to filter Spam is simply a "stop-gap" measure. These may reduce the amount of Spam in your mail box, but they will not keep Spam from overloading networks or collapsing mail systems - the problem is growing too fast. So you should get active - we highly recommend going to spam.abuse.net and read up on what you can do.


Questions or comments abot spam reduction? Let us know in the MacHighway User Forums.

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