Spam has become ubiquitous – one of the facts of life, like taxes. Until strong anti-spam laws are passed and actually enforced, spam proliferation will continue because it’s proven to reach a mass audience.
Spam has become ubiquitous – one of the facts of life, like taxes. Until strong anti-spam laws are passed and actually enforced, spam proliferation will continue because it’s proven to reach a mass audience. If it didn’t work, spammers wouldn’t waste their time. Most people, however, see spam as the scourge of email and look for ways to stop it from infecting their email boxes.
Getting Started: 6 Quick Tips to Stop Spam
- Avoid giving out your email address to unknown recipients.
- Use a second “junk” email address for generic online registrations.
- Use email application filtering.
- Mark these emails as spam in your application.
- Report the Spammer.
- Don’t be fooled by “Remove” links.
How to Block Spam From Email
There are several ways to block spam from your email inbox. They say prevention is the best medicine, so avoid giving out your email address to unfamiliar or unknown recipients. This has become very difficult to do, however. Spammers can use software programs that troll the Internet looking for email addresses, much like throwing a net in the ocean and seeing what gets caught in it.
Nowadays it’s almost impossible to shop online without providing a valid email address. Offline stores are even asking for email addresses in exchange for discounts or free merchandise. Realize that what they are doing is potentially opening the door for a flood of unsolicited emails. These organizations will most likely turn around and sell their list to someone else looking for valid emails. In these cases, it might be wise to have more than one email address, one for friends, family and colleagues and another for unfamiliar sources. There are many free email services in cyberspace to choose from.
However, also know that even trustworthy sources may be unwittingly shelling out your email address. Ever receive an email greeting card? The sender has given your email to an organization that may very well be compiling email lists to sell to spammers.
Use Filtering Features and Report Spammers
A second way to stop spam is to use your email application’s filtering features. Most email applications allow you to block specific messages. When an offending email comes in, set the filter to block further incoming mails from that sender.
A more aggressive approach to ridding unwanted email is to report the e-mailer to the spammer’s ISP. This is not always an easy task. First you must determine the spam’s origins. Many of the bigger and more commercial ISPs forbid spammers from using their services and, once discovered, will actively ban the offending parties from using their services. But there are plenty of smaller ones that do not.
To find the spam’s origins, instruct your email program to display all of the email’s header information. View the “Received” lines, and working from top to bottom you can often pinpoint the origin of spam. Spammers don’t typically just send emails from their ISP to yours; that would be too easy and apparent. Instead, they channel the emails through one or more ISPs in order to obfuscate the origin, but each computer that handles the e-mail will attach a “Received” line to the header. There are numerous Internet resources available for help in tracking down the source of spam.
Don’t Be Fooled by Click to Remove Statements
Don’t be fooled by phrases such as “to be removed from this list, click here.” Spammers use these types of catch phrases to entice users to respond to the emails. The spammers may or may not remove your e-mail from their list. Either way you have told the spammer that your email address is valid and reaches a real person. They know this because you responded and asked them to remove you from the list. This can actually be more valuable to the spammers because they can now sell your address to another spammer with the assurance that the email address is legitimate. So you may have been removed from one list, but there’s a good chance that you will end up on another.
Yet another way to deal with spam is to just not be bothered by it. Accept it as a fact of life. Delete the emails from your inbox without reading them and move on from there.
This article was last updated on April 13, 2016