We all know how frustrating junk emails can get. They clog up our email Inbox and make us waste precious time cleaning them up. To make matter worse, spam sometimes come with viruses or worms that make your system go haywire. But all this meant little for the conned victims who actually believed in the fraudulent content and lost their money paying for ‘ransoms’ or ‘charity causes’.
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Minimizing the amount of spam to your inbox equates to making it increasingly difficult for spammers to continue in their line of work. This not only benefits us, but also the internet community as a whole. Spamming becomes less attractive for them, thus reducing the total amount of spam out there slowing down servers and cheating victims of their monies.
Apart from a reliable spam filter software or plugin for your email client, there are still a few more things you can do to kill spam. Here are five simple tips to cut down:
1. Don’t Unsubscribe to Spam.
This is a smart tactic by spammers to find out whether email accounts are active. We have all come across official newsletters or advertisements where we have the option to unsubscribe to them if we do not wish to receive further emails from them. Just when we thought we have the choice of ‘unsubscribing’ to spam, the spammers make use of that to notify themselves whether our account is spam-worthy.
What should we do then? Don’t reply to them at all. If we suspect that an email is a spam rather than a legitimate one, delete the message or report it as spam. When we don’t respond, spammers will treat it as the email account has not been in used for awhile and thus no one will read their spam. They will be more likely to strike us off from the spam list and we might not receive any more from them.
2. Don’t Reveal Your Email
Bots might harvest emails on the net wherever they could find the addresses listed in text. This includes forums, social media sites, websites, blogs, etc. One solution is to avoid posting your email address, but that might be rather inconvenient if you want people to contact you.
Another solution is to edit your email address in the manner that these bots won’t identify it and capture it. For example, one has to simply remove the ‘@’ from their email address, because that’s what those bots look for when they are searching for emails.
If you ever wondered why some people put their email address in the format of xxxxxx (at) xxxxx (dot) com, it’s precisely because they want to avoid being a victim of spam. We can also make our email address appear as an image so that there’s no way these irritating bots could make out our address.
3. Reporting Spam
Minimizing the number of unsolicited emails to our inbox is a good thing, but why not make it great if we can lessen it for everyone else in the internet community? Simply direct spam to a spam reporting service site (I do it for the bank, they have a site specifically designed for that)and they will do what is needed to prevent the spammer from spamming anyone else. Basically such a site would report to the ISP of the email used by the spammer, the hosting company would subsequently stop these spammers.
SpamCop is a free spam reporting service that allows victims of spam to report spammers to their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and sometimes their webhost. All you do is to create an account with them and send the spam reports to them.
4. Use a Distinct Email Account
One way to automatically channel your spam away from your inbox is to create one email address which we will only give out when we register online any products we buy or download. We’ll never know if these companies sell a database of the email addresses they collected to anyone else, including spammers.
In any case, this separate inbox will house all the advertisements and what-not which most of us wouldn’t want to see it on a regular basis. The original email address which you access daily can then be used for personal and work emails, with the amount of spam minimized (or directed away).
I actually use several email accounts, one for business, one for social, one for work, etc. Then if one of them gets a bit 'out-of-hand' in traffic, I just delete the account, create new, and advise all my subscribers. Yes it is a bit of a 'brute force' approach, but I handle a couple of hundred emails every day. I can say however, my spam is less than 2%.
5. Disable HTML in Email
Most email programs today i.e. Microsoft Outlook, offers the option of disabling HTML upon receipt of any of such email messages. It is a good idea to do that because this would prevent any unauthorized installation or activation of programs via what is embedded in the HTML content. Once we see that the sender and the plain text content seems suspicious enough to consider it a junk email, we can delete it before any damage is done.
Another suggestion is to utilize the preview 'Reading Pane' in Outlook. Since you are in 'preview' mode, the active spam cannot execute and deliver its payload. You can delete the entire message at once.
Most importantly, DO NOT open attachments from users you do not know!