Saturday, August 13, 2005

Top 7 tips for reducing spam.

Spam, also known as unsolicited emails is the scurge of the
Internet. Like annoying phone calls from telemarketers
trying to sell you something while you are having dinner,
spam is irretating, frustrating and takes up a lot of your
valuable time.

Spammers use special software called Email Harvesting
Robots to scour the Internet 24/7, 365 days a year to find
and gather email addresses.

These Robots look for the '@' symbol which is the symbol
used in all email addresses. Then they extract your email
address, without your knowledge or permission and add it
to their email address data base.

If you post your email address on your web site, your
e-zine, forums, chat rooms or anywhere on the Internet,
you are laying yourself wide open to email harvesting
robots and spammers.

Some unscrupulous scum send viruses through spam email that
can mess up or distroy your computer. Some of the viruses
that the spammers email you hide inside your system files,
replicate themselves and mail themselves to everyone in
your address book.

Spam is becoming such a huge problem that the US Government
is passing legislation to regulate unsolicited emails.
However the US Government has no control over spam that
originates in other countries.

Therefore, spam is a scurge that governments might not be
able to control.

But we, as individuals can protect ourselves by doing
whatever we can to reduce the amount of spam we receive.
Here are seven tips that will help you reduce spam.

1) NEVER EVER respond or reply to a spam email no matter
how tempting, curious or annoying the message is. Keep
your cool. If you do reply, the spammer will know that
your email address is an active one. Do not open any
attachments. Just delete the spam.

2) Never click on the 'unsubscribe' link in a spam email.
If you do, again the spammer will know that your email
address is active. He will sell your email address to
other spammers. The spam you receive will double or

3) Protect your primary email address. This is the one that
you get from your Internet Service Provider (ISP.) Do
not give out your primary email address to anyone unless
you trust them. If you want to subscribe to a newsleter
with your primary email address, make sure that you read
the terms of use and their privacy policy.

4) Have an 'All Purpose' email address like a Yahoo or a
Hotmail email address to post in forums, chat rooms etc.
The email you receive to these addresses are web-based.
You can read your Yahoo or Hotmail email messages on your
Yahoo or Hotmail account on their web site without
downloading them into your computer. You can delete all
the spam right from those web sites.

5) If you have your own web site and have to give out your
email address for people to contact you, you can 'cloak'
your email address by substituting the HTML code for the
'@' symbol. This way, the email harvesting robots will
not be able to extract your email address from your
web site.

When you cloak your email address, you can include an
active email link such as 'Contact me' or 'Email me.'
When your contact clicks on the active email link, her
email program will open with your email address in the
'To' box.

6) Never ever buy anything from a spam email. The
information you give out to a spammer could be used for
illegal purposes. You could probably end up being a
victim of identity theft.

7) Black List every spammers email addresses.

To do this, you have to find the email address of the
spammer. Most spammers do not give their email addresses
in the 'From' box of the email or they give a phoney one.

To find out his real email address, click the 'File'
button on your email program. Then, when a window opens,
click on 'Properties.' This will open a window with two
tabs - General and Detail.

The 'General' tab will show you the message source and
display the email address of the sender. But the 'Detail'
tab will give you more details like IP address and the
email address of the sender.

Once you have the email address of the spammer, add it
to your 'Black List' in your email program. This is
somewhat of a tedious process I know. It will innitially
take some time to black list email addresses of every
spammer. But, believe me, it will surely be worth your
trouble on the long run.

The above tips, if followed, will greatly reduce the spam
you receive and save you a lot of annoyance, aggravation,
frustration and time.

One more point worth mentioning is the saying "To reduce
spam, do not be a spammer."

About the Author

Patrick Silva is a Seminar Instructor, A public Speaker and
a Researcher. He is the editor of 'A Learners Lounge,' a
free e-zine dedicated to inspire and motivate you to
achieve success. To subscribe, click on the link below