Good Policies and Habits
Email SPAM has become one of the worst annoying things associated to Internet communication.
There are many things you can do to avoid SPAM. There are preventive measures and there are remedial actions. Between the two of them, the preventive actions are the best because have the least impact on you. Preventing SPAM costs less than removing and saves your precious time.
Anti spam Laws
Many of the developed countries have anti spam laws, that are meant to stop unsolicited email messages. Having laws against spam is great and it is a great step forward, but as an end user and an email user, you have to understand that it is your responsibility to prevent spam and to act responsible when using the email. In some countries the anti spam legislation is not very effective, so people will still send unsolicited messages, crafted so they will abide the law. Because email is using the Internet, it is basically open to abuse from any country without specific legislation.
What Can You Do to Prevent Email SPAM?
Spam Preventing Strategies and Behavior
First of all do not give your email address to dubious sites or people you don’t trust.
If you need to subscribe to various doubtful sites you need to create a second email account that you can easily discard when the SPAM level becomes intolerable.
Even better, have three accounts. At least one account should be dispensable.
Do not publish your email address on your web-pages. These are regularly scanned by spammers to harvest addresses. Use web – forms instead. These forms will allow people to send you emails but they will hide your address from spammers’ eyes.
When filling registration forms online, look for the box that requests future offers, or subscription to news-letters and select or deselect as needed.
Do not forward chain letters or, if you really need to, the article Stop Chain Letters – Anti Spam talks about how to prevent spammers to harvest addresses from your email correspondence.
BCC is your friend against spammers. When sending messages to many recipients at once, use BCC to insert all the destination addresses. This field (blind carbon copy) hides the addresses of your recipients. Read this article for more information.
Your work email is only for work. Do not mix your work emails with the personal ones, this is actually part of the Anti Spam IT policy of many companies.
Many Government Agencies and Institutions use email as a way of communication. You should use a special email account only for this kind of communication. This might even be a free account like “Gmail” or “Live” accounts. This will avoid getting this important account spammed.
If you don’t know the sender of an unsolicited email, delete the message immediately.
Never buy from unsolicited emails. You might get scammed and end up on a spammers’ list.
Do not answer spam messages and do not click on any links in spam messages. The “Unsubscribe” links on spam messages are just a way to trick you to confirm the spammer that he has a good address.
Generally speaking, reduce the exposure of your email address in any way.
Use dispensable accounts for dangerous activities.
What can you do to remove SPAM from your mailbox?
Personal Anti Spam Software
Use user level anti spam software. If you use Microsoft Outlook keep you Ms Office up to date as the integrated Junk Filter filters most of the unrequested emails. Some of the most known personal anti spam software are: Norton Anti Spam, Mailwasher, (free version available), Vanquish Personal Anti-Spam, Spam Bully, Spam Buster, SpamFighter Pro, Personal Antispam for Mac, etc…
Corporate Anti Spam Solutions
Speak to your Network Administrator about a corporate anti spam solution. A free anti spam solution that will work great in a corporate environment is Spamassassin. Other commercial anti spam solutions include Mailwasher the server edition, Trend Micro, GFI MailEssentials, Exclaimer Anti-spam, SPAMfighter Exchange Module, SpamTitan ISO as software solutions. There are also anti spam appliances such as MailFoundry, iForce Mail Firewall, Barracuda Networks, Roaring Penguin CanIt, Astaro, SpamKiller Appliances, Fortimail, etc…
Hosted Anti Spam Solutions
Hosted anti spam solutions have become widely adopted because of the convenience and the near to zero administration involvement. These are anti-spam servers that will filter the junk email before delivering to you mailbox or your server depending on the case. Some great hosted anti spam services are: Hosted CanIt anti-spam service, (Roaring Penguin), GFI MAX MailProtection, Symantec Cloud, Barracuda Networks, Google’s Postini, etc…
Solicited Messages can Become Spammy
Unsubscribe from any news-letter that becomes annoying. Sometimes you subscribe to a newsletter and it is fine for a while and in time they decide to send you more emails. I was surprised by the number of people that tolerate unneeded messages and do not unsubscribe. As underlined above do not unsubscribe to unsolicited email messages, you will only make it worse.
As a last resource give up the email account and create a new one. Inform all your friends about your new address and set an auto responder informing about your new address. Spam emails are automated there isn’t a person who is reading the bounce backs or replies, therefore an auto responder with the new address will be only read by real people.
What can you do to help the fight anti spam?
Spread the word. Give your friends the address of this page.
Translate this page in other languages.
Comment on the bottom of the page with other suggestions.
Publish a link to this article on your website or give us your thoughts about other anti spam solutions.