SPAM (email, not the meat)

SPAM: What to do and not do.

“How do I stop all the email spam?” Actually I’m asked this question frequently and I have a few quick tips for reducing your email spam down to a low roar. While it is virtually impossible to completely rid yourself of spam without actually terminating all your known email addresses, you can filter it down to a manageable size.

First,let’s take a look at how and why you are getting bombarded with these unwanted pests. Logging onto a website where you are asked for your email address is one of the biggest instigators. As mentioned before in this column, we discussed reading the fine print before typing in your email address and clicking that infamous submit button.

A great number of those sites state in their terms and conditions that they have the right to sell your email address, or at least share it with their affiliate companies. While the first company may specifically say they will not sell it, they do say they may share it with an affiliate company who does reserve the right to sell your info.  See the tips below for ideas on how to avoid this.

Another trend growing in popularity is sending #whatever to a certain number using your cell phone. In return you are registered to win a tank of gas or a $50 department store card. Do not fall for this one either. Here is the scoop on how that works for their benefit and your misery. This company (whoever it may be) shells out 50 bucks for a gift card or tank of gas and in turn they receive hundreds of active cell phone numbers they can put on a list for sale. Trust me, they are going to make a lot more than $50 selling that list with your phone number on it. I have seen this same tactic used with email also.

So if you are not really interested in acquiring a Russian mail order bride, dating Asian women or getting free samples of Viagra, then follow these simple rules to a cleaner email inbox.

Tips for reducing or avoiding email spam overload:

  1. Do not use your daily email for logging onto new websites. I maintain a separate email account that I’ve dubbed as my spam mail. Simply create a new email address from any free server such as Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, AOL (yes it’s still around), GMX and so on. Only use your daily email for co-workers, friends and family. If there is a site you would like to see regular email notices from; you may return to that site and put in your personal email address. Just remember to read those terms and conditions before doing so.
  2. Do not unsubscribe from a stray junk email that may wander into your inbox. Often when you do this, you are sending that server a message that your email address is good and prime for them to distribute or sell. Simply delete the email without opening it. You may also select it and choose the option “mark as spam” from your email menu and later empty your spam folder. Eventually your email server will notice a pattern and automatically forward any future emails from that source directly to your spam folder.
  3. Use caution when choosing the “reply all” option in response to emails. This includes emails from people that you know and trust. This was mentioned briefly in last week’s article “email spoof.” Using the reply all option inadvertently puts you and everyone else on that email string at risk for spam. You may know and trust the friend who sent you that email, but they may have friends you don’t know, and those friends have friends and so on.

In conclusion, following these three basic rules of thumb regarding email will go a long way in reducing your daily spam intake. Granted these are not the only things you can do, but they are my top three picks for anyone wanting to reduce the spam in their inbox.

 

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