How to avoid Spam as much as possible.

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Dianne Miller

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Spam seems to be an inevitable way of internet life.  It’s almost unavoidable but you can take measures to limit the amount of spam you get. It has become essential to avoid spam as much as possible.

Users are often required to give up email address to view content or to post a comment at so many sites.  This is legitimate to make sure you are actually a real person and understandably we all have to do this at one time or another. However, many companies use this ploy so that they can put us in their email distribution list. Once they have your address they can use it to try and sell us things in the future. Legitimate companies will not sell your email to third parties, and will not continue to email you when you have asked them to stop and honour that check box that reads, “I do not wish to receive emails…”  Others of course, will resell your details over and over again until your mailbox is full of unwanted and annoying mail.

Because we have come to believe that our e-mail address is the passage to information we have become so used to coughing up our email address and posting it online that we forget   that not everyone who captures our email address is going to use it in a legal and ethical way. To prevent this from happening to you, here are some tips and hints to make sure you don’t open your mail to abuse.

1. Giving out your email address on social networks

Using social networks is a great way to keep in touch with others and a very convenient and informal way get your work done as well. By offering real time communication, file sharing and collaboration social networks have become a tool used by many in the workplace.

However one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to social networks is sharing their email address on them. Like any other site, data can be mined from the various social networks – and that includes your email address. If it is posted on there, even if it is “private”, it can be captured and added to a spammer’s mailing list with ease. Use a secondary or back up address if you need to use this address for recovering a password later or getting the occasional notification. It’s best not to use your main e-mail address. Set up a free mail for this sort of communication.

2. The listing of your e-mail address and security.

Spammers will also scour the Internet for those users who list their email address on a public facing website. With inexpensive software a spammer can collect thousands of email addresses to use in their next campaign with very little effort.

Obviously you will want to keep your email address off any personal websites you might have. Instead of using a link or even the email in content, rather opt for a contact form instead. If you are forced to list your e-mail for work purposes, make sure you keep a separate address for personal e-mail.  Also discuss company policy and suggest a contact form to your supervisor if you believe that the amount of spam mail is becoming a problem.

3. How to answer a Spam message

The CAN-SPAM Act requires that legitimate email marketers include an unsubscribe link on all emails they send to you. Most of them will take you off the list if you request it.

However by answering unsolicited mail spammers can then establish which e-mail address on a site are real and not ones set up for registration purposes only. If you did not sign up to receive emails then don’t click on any of the links provided. Simply trash the  emails when they make it past the spam filter.

4. Using an alternate email address to register online

In addition to your work email address and your personal email address you should keep one that you use when you are asked to register for something online. There are tons of free e-mail offerings which work wonderfully and should never cause you any reason for concern. A lot of people use google mail. This helps keep the junk mailing down to a minimum in your good email inboxes and it prevents these addresses from being sold off by less than ethical people who have collected your address.

It also has the advantage of being disposable. This e-mail address starts getting spammed too much, you can forget it and register a new one to use.

5. Educate yourself

Whenever there is a new version of a software package so many of us jump at the opportunity to educate ourselves on how to use it. Unfortunately, many of us do not show the same enthusiasm when it comes to keeping current on trends that involve spamming, phishing or other security issues.

Make sure you read up on the different tactics and trends that are related to email security topics to protect yourself and your privacy.  Use your ISP to better identify the different attacks that come through our email and help to keep our email addresses from falling into the hands of the bad guys.  Report all spam to your ISP who will then “blacklist “ the spam for you if you send it as an attachment.

Dianne Miller is CEO of Imaginet.  Join her on Google Plus.

 

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