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Stopping Unwanted E-mail

Reader rating: 6 out of 10



Introduction

Is spam (unwanted E-mail) crowding your Inbox? Don't know how to stop it?

This How-To Article shows you with some tips for stopping and preventing spam.


Stopping Unwanted E-mail

Where does spam start?

Spam, or unwanted E-mail, can start for many reasons. Anytime you submit your E-mail address for any reason, you have the possibility of receiving spam. Don't suspect all web sites, though, as many protect your E-mail address. (You can often find out about how web sites protect your personal information by reading their Privacy Policy.)

Spam can be anything from "get rich quick" schemes to "get a free computer" sweepstakes.

Spammers use a variety of techniques when sending spam. First, they will often (several times) indicate in the message that "this is not spam!!". The spammer may also be nice enough to provide a fake "unsubscribe from this e-mail list" link or address. Spammers do whatever they can do to get their message into your Inbox. A good way to find out if you got spammed is to think if you ever subscribed to receive the newsletter (or offer). If not, then some newsletter or service that you have signed up for probably passed your address on to a third party.

Stopping spam in its tracks

You should always protect your E-mail address when submitting it on the Internet. If you don't trust the site, don't provide an E-mail address, or if an E-mail address is required, use a "fake" address (described below).

When you sign up for any services, or download any products, don't generally use your regular E-mail address. Keep your E-mail address for personal or business use.

A good way of stopping spam is to filter it. A service, the best of its kind, can be found at Spamex. This service allows you to create "forwarding addresses" that forward to your existing E-mail address. Another site that offers a similar service is Mailshell.com By creating the forwarding addresses, your actual E-mail address is never exposed to the web site. Instead, an address that forwards E-mail to your existing address will be used. If you start receiving spam through that address, then you can easily cancel the address, therefore stopping the spam.

Other ways of stopping spam

What do you do if you are already receiving the spam? The forwarding addresses won't help now, as you are already receiving the spam. In this case, you will need to filter spam through your existing E-mail address.

Many E-mail providers provide services for stopping spam. Try contacting your ISP. Ask them if they provide "E-mail filtering services". These filters are very effective in stopping spam, but can't stop spam 100%. Many web-based E-mail services (including MSN Hotmail) provide spam-filtering.

If you're using Microsoft Outlook, you can easily add specific E-mail addresses to a "junk senders" list, which will send E-mail from that sender to the Deleted Items folder. (To learn how to do this, read this How-To Article.) Be aware, though, that spammers usually will use a different E-mail address each time they send spam, so this solution isn't 100% effective either.

Another option, usually the least effective, is to try unsubscribing from the mailing list. Depending on the spammer, this may work. Try clicking an "unsubscribe" link somewhere in the E-mail message. If there isn't one, try sending a blank reply to the sender with either remove or unsubscribe as the subject.

Tip: If the majority of your E-mail is spam which you can't seem to stop, you may want to consider getting a new E-mail address. Contact your ISP about this. Then, be sure to use a service like Spamex when submitting your E-mail address on the Internet.

Spam is annoying, but by being sure that your E-mail address is protected on the Internet is the first step.

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