How To Stop Spam (Especially If You?re Already a Victim)

Spam. Those annoying, time-consuming emails that clog your Inbox and ruin your day. You wonder: How did it ever get so bad? While it's not possible to completely eliminate spam, there are quite a few things you CAN do about the problem to reduce your burden.

Spam is defined as an unsolicited email trying to get you to buy something. In addition, it's email that tries to get you to give up something: your credit card number, social security number, login ID, etc., by pretending to be a legitimate email. Here are some tips for stopping the current spam you're getting, and avoiding getting on new spam lists.

1. Maintain two email addresses: a Personal Email Address (that you give to family, friends and business associates), and a Safe Email Address (one you use whenever you're ordering something online, signing up for an email newsletter, or creating a profile on a website).

For instance, I use a Hotmail account for my Safe Email Address. If a spammer were to get a hold of that address, fine. All the spam will go into my Hotmail account, which I only look at once a week. Hotmail has a great anti-spam filter built in, so it's easy to see what's spam and what's not. This practice leaves my personal email account relatively spam-free (maybe I get two spam emails a day to my personal account). Some free email services include Hotmail, Yahoo and GMail (Google's new email service).

2. Use your Safe Email Address to send emails to companies who might be harvesting email addresses from incoming emails. For example, say you want to write to a company to ask them about their products. Some companies will harvest your email address from the email you send to them, and put you on their mailing list. By using your Safe Email Address, you can avoid seeing messages from these companies come to your personal email address.

3. Stop giving your email address to everyone who wants it. Does your local bank really need your email address? Does your grocery store need it? Just because someone asks for it doesn't mean you have to give it to them. If it's a non-local company, or you are signing up for a mailing list, then they probably do need it. But it's okay to leave the email address blank when filling out forms. Always ask yourself, Do I want to be contacted by this company via email? (Speaking of mailing lists, make sure the companies you subscribe to have a public, posted Privacy Statement on their website.)

4. Do not put your Personal Email Address on your website. Instead, use a form so that your email address is hidden. However, some spammers use special software that looks at the HTML code hidden in the form to steal your email address, so using a form by itself isn't always the safest route. Better yet, use a free Form Processor so that your email address is never even in the HTML coding on your pages.

The service I use is Bravenet's Form processor (www.bravenet.com). You can see ours in action here: http://www.passionforbusiness.com/send-email.htm

5. Never buy anything that's sent through a spam email. First, it just encourages them to continue to spam. Second, it tells them that your email address is accurate, and they can then sell that address to someone else.

6. Never reply to spam and ask to be unsubscribed. They'll just ignore it anyway, and it tells them that your email address is accurate, which just keeps you on the list. Note: many legitimate emails newsletters and mailing lists use automated unsubscribe links at the bottom of their emails, and you CAN use these to get off of mailing lists.

7. Use anti-spam software, like Norton Internet Security, on your own PC to filter spam as it comes into your email system. You still receive the spam, but it gets filtered to a Junk Mail or Bulk Mail folder, and segregates the spam from the legitimate email. Most anti-spam filters need to be trained, however, so you'll have to occasionally tell the filter that something is NOT spam that it inadvertently put into the Junk Mail folder. Many of these anti-spam filters work on the principle of White Lists (legitimate email addresses that you DO want to receive email from) and Black Lists (spammer email addresses that you do NOT want to receive email from). Learn how to train your anti-spam software and it will work wonders for you.

8. Check to see if your ISP or hosting company has anti- spam technology in place, to catch spam before it even hits your Inbox. Be careful, though, because sometimes these filters are over-zealous and you have to train it to accept emails from mailing lists that you have subscribed to.

9. Do not use a catch-all email address. A catch-all email address is set up if you have your own website, and it is intended to catch all of the incoming emails sent to your domain even if there is no legitimate mailbox by that name. For example, your email address might be mary@mydomain.com. If that mailbox is set up as a catch all, and someone sends an email to marie@mydomain.com (with a spelling mistake in the email name), it will be forwarded to mary@mydomain.com. However, spammers know about catch-all email addresses, and will take your domain name mydomain.com and add common prefixes to it, like info@ or admin@. If you have a catch- all, then those spamming emails will come to you, even if you don't have a legitimate mailbox of info@mydomain.com or admin@mydomain.com set up with your hosting company. See how easy it is for spammers to get to you?

10. Finally, if spam is really bad, create a new personal email address for yourself, tell everyone about the new address (give them several reminders that you are changing email addresses), then delete the old personal email address. This may seem a little drastic, but if you receive 200 spam emails a day, it might be time to time this final step to eradicate it.

You are not powerless against spam. But you do have to take action to fight back. Don't let them bully you into accepting hundreds of unwanted emails a day! Take action now to reclaim your Inbox!

About The Author

Karyn Greenstreet is a Self Employment expert and small business coach. She shares tips, techniques and strategies with self-employed people to boost clarity and focus, create sustainable motivation, and increase sales and profits. Visit her website at www.PassionForBusiness.com

Corporate Email Policies Lower Unnecessary Legal and Security Risks

What comes to your mind when you think about your email? Email makes possible almost... Read More

Learn Simple Strategies That Will Stop Spammers From Bombarding Your Inbox!

Spam filter is the solution that most people resort when they try to steam the... Read More

Avoid, Shun, Thwart, Prevent, and then Filter Spam

Email is rapidly becoming the standard means of communication among businesses, associates, and even friends.... Read More

Which Spam Filter Is Best For You?

With the number of spam filtering solutions increasing each week it's getting tougher for consumers... Read More

Eight Quick Tips For Stopping SPAM

If you are buried in SPAM then you're not alone. It's been suggested that as... Read More

How to Write a Privacy Policy

A Privacy Policy can be defined as the policy under which a company or organization... Read More

Is Spam Affecting Your Business Email?

5 Ways Spam Is Affecting Your Business And what we can all do to prevent... Read More

The 4 Ws of Junk E-mail

Junk e-mail or spam has become the scourge of the modern computer world. It eats... Read More

I Love Spam!

What's the big deal? All you read on the internet is spam, spam, spam. Spam... Read More

Pst... Pass It On... I Found Out Its a Hoax

When you receive an email telling you about a virus, what do you do with... Read More

Managing Spam in 2005

In 1998, nearly 10% of all email traffic on the internet was SPAM. By 2003... Read More

Why Your ISP Takes Bribes From Spammers

The lifeblood of the spammer is email. They need to be able to send lots... Read More

Spam - How to Report it

I'm sure you find spam just as frustrating and annoying as I do. So I've... Read More

Protecting Your Business From Spam

Even being as careful as possible with my email address, I still used to receive... Read More

5 Zero-Cost Spam Prevention Tools For All Situations!

Anyone who uses email knows what Spam is!It's annoying and time consuming to wade through... Read More

Wiki Reek-y Havoc

The Vandals are coming! And this time they're after your wallets.It's a new form of... Read More

The Definition of Spam

Spam can bring down your website faster than a speeding bullet, but what is spam?... Read More

Protecting Yourself With A Porn Filter

The harmful affects of pornography use and addiction are well documented by ... Read More

How to Avoid Spam Complaints in Your Emails

Spam filters are responsible for deleting a high percentage of legitimate business emails from people... Read More

Spam with Typos: Why Do They All Have Spelling Errors?

A friend asked me: I don't get it. Why do spammers have such a hard... Read More

20 Words That Kill - At Least When It Comes to Spam Filters

Spam, spam, spam. It's terrible not only for those of us on the receiving end,... Read More

Spamicide: Man Spammed to Death While Checking His E-mail

Death by spam is now possible with a new device by Microsoft. The device when... Read More

Dont Give the Spammers Your Address From Your Page

Spammers get email addresses from web pages using programs called spiders which tour the internet... Read More

Email Chain Letters - Harmless Fun or Not?

I'm sure I'm not the only person on the planet that remembers getting the occasional... Read More

The Anti Spam Challenge ? Minimizing False Positives

Email is the quintessential business communication tool, so when it doesn't work like it's supposed... Read More

SPAM: A Nutrious Food or a Waste of Time?

Unless the filters on your computer are really good, you're getting at least an occasional... Read More

E-mail SPAM: Whats The Big Deal?

It absolutely amazes me how many people over-react to receiving e-mail SPAM.What is this obsession...this... Read More

What Exactly is Spam?

Spam, as defined in the context of computers, the Internet and electronic messaging, is a... Read More

How to Fight Back BEFORE Youre Falsely Accused of Spam

A friend of mine received a chilling email message from his ISP the other day.... Read More

Spam: The Tasteless Internet Meat of Criminals

Spam. You've all heard of the crazy pink meat in a can, but what's it... Read More

The Cybermagic of Whitelists

Before we start getting deep into the meat of this article it's important to explain... Read More

FTC Botches Fight on SPAM, Microsoft Takes Over the Battle

While the Federal Trade Commission is busy fighting over definitions of "What is SPAM;" Microsoft... Read More

Is Email Dying?

2004 was really a year when the whole subject of email and spam has been... Read More

Block Ads, Defeat Pop-Ups, and STOP Page Hijacking

You're not alone!Who hasn't surfed the web looking for information only to have their session... Read More

A War on SPAM: Attacking The Evil

As most small, medium and large businesses in this country have seen the SPAM Emails... Read More

Beware Of Spam Withdrawals

Q: I am so sick of all the spam that is sent to my business... Read More

The Trouble With Spam Is....

Each day we all face the same challenge. Spam. It doesn't matter if you're a... Read More

Spammer in the Slammer: Jeremy Jaynes Sentenced to Nine Years

Will other spammers take heed? Don't count on it.Jeremy Jaynes was on top of the... Read More

A Practical Approach to Eliminate Spam

Spam is out of control! I guess that would be the understatement of the year.... Read More

Getting Back To Basics.

While we all agree that there`s way too much spamming/junk-mailing going on in our email... Read More

Is Your Website Blacklisted?

A blacklist, as the name implies, is a list of people or companies who have... Read More

Anti Trackback and Comment Spam Methods

What is spam ? Spam is text or... Read More

Evict the Spammers from Your Inbox

Block Spam and Other Email Threats From Entering Your Gateway Spam, commonly defined as unsolicited... Read More

I Must Be The Luckiest Person Alive! Spam

I must be the luckiest person alive! My inbox is just crammed with good news,... Read More

How Spammers Fool Spam Blacklists - And How to Stop Them

Effectively stopping spam over the long-term requires much more than blocking individual IP addresses and... Read More

Phishing for an Identity

Phishing is rapidly becoming on the largest threats to your personal, financial, and emotional wellbeing.... Read More

ANTI-S*P^A#M: Protecting Your Web Sites Email Address(es)

Did you know that there are software programs that view web sites and steal email... Read More

The Business Of Sending Spam

You all tear your hair out in frustration every time you see your inbox crammed... Read More

What To Do When You Get Spam

When you go to your mailbox and find pieces of junk mail mixed in with... Read More

Fight Spam and Fortify Your Web Site with RSS

RSS is the answer to the Spam epidemic of the past. Spam, any mass distribution... Read More