Spam! I have over the last few days listened to my business partner’s exasperated sighs over the approximately 2000 spam mails he received while on holiday for just over two weeks, his frustration is understandable, the solution ongoing.
Everyone I know has been approached by X who has a fortune that she will share with you if you just help her by giving out your banking details; I am also a millionaire many times over with the amount of money that I have won, and my bank is forever losing my personal details.
Stats show that up to 14.5 billion spam emails get sent out on a daily basis, the point is no matter what you do you are going to get spam. So how can you alleviate the pain that is spam?
We all know the basics to protect our email: don’t open or reply to spam messages, delete them immediately, don’t click on links that could be viruses, don’t send your personal details to anyone, don’t trust anyone you don’t know, and so on.
There are reliable methods we can use to minimize spam.
Firstly, find an effective filter to use, you may need to buy one or you can download a free version. Overall they are effective but do tend to miss craftily worded spam or alternatively can send some important messages to the trash box so be careful in how you set them up and what keywords you select as spam, but overall they can be up to 95% accurate in filtering those unwanted messages. Here are some spam filters to compare:
Spam Blocker Services:
Free Spam Filter Software
These filters often do not work for domain email clients, so if you are trying to clean up Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, these may not be the best options to use. However, most online email services such as the ones mentioned above, have built in spam filters which do a good job at filtering unwanted email into your Junk Mail Folder. They also have built in features where the user can report spam that has filtered through into the Inbox, look for a “Report as Spam” button or a “Not Spam” button to correct false positives. You can also create your own spam filters to get the best results, by creating filters for incoming mail that flag or delete emails containing lewd content or common spam keywords. This strategy can backfire though if a friend sends a message with your spam filter keywords in it. To help, Google has a “test” feature that lets you test-run a filter before you apply it so you can better fine tune your results. This will further help to identify emails that might get past the spam filters.
You can also try setting up a nondescript email account used simply to accrue and therefore identify spam email. These are known as Spamtraps and will work if the address isn’t used or given to contacts. That way, any emails sent to the account can be reasonably called spam and filtered. This is one way — among others — that many professional services identify spam for their clients.
Use a dummy email for online deals, social networking, downloads or if stores ask for an email address at point of purchase. Having this type of email can divert a lot of unwanted spam away from your real account. Then keep a separate email address for your private emails, keeping your information confidential.
When you create your email addresses, make them difficult for bots (which spammers use to find email addresses) to find or recreate. Consider using more than one word, word segments or pieces, numbers and non-letter symbols and underscores_are_good, e.g. email@example.com. But don’t make it too easy that bots can find it or too difficult so that no one can remember it.
Further more, when joining a network, gaming services, magazines, etc. DO NOT CHECK THE EMAIL BOX for future deals, updates, or news about the company, unless you really want to receive these types of emails. They tend to clutter your Inbox making it difficult to manage. If you have subscribed and they are becoming an issue, every email with marketing or news information on it will have an Unsubsribe button.
Finally, Ensure that the automatic update service on your PC is turned on and configured to automatically download the latest software updates. It is not a spam fighter, but it does help to protect your PC from unwanted viruses and ensure you have the latest software on your machine.
Personally I use Gmail and the Spam Filters that they provide and try to report as many spammers as I can for my personal email, while for my fake email address I use www.myTrashMail.com.
Yes, initially it is a lot of work to set this all up, but long term the time saved by not having to delete and check thousands of emails is immeasurable.