To reduce the chances of your e-mail address getting on a spammer's list, here are five simple preventative measures you can take that will go a long way in keeping not-so-delicious spam out of your in-box. We hope you find this tech tip useful.
1. Use a disposable e-mail address.
If you buy products online or occasionally subscribe to web sites that interest you, chances are you’re going to get spammed.
To avoid your main e-mail address from ending up on their broadcast list, set up a free Internet e-mail address with Hotmail or Gmail and use it when buying or opting in to online newsletters. You can also use a throwaway e-mail address when subscribing to newsletters (see #4 below).
2. Pay attention to check boxes that automatically opt you in.
Whenever you subscribe to a website or make a purchase online, be very watchful of small, pre-checked boxes that say, “Yes! I want to receive offers from third party companies.”
If you do not un-check the box to opt-out, your e-mail address can (and will) be sold to online advertisers. To keep this from happening, simply take a closer look at every online form you fill out.
Spammers have special programs that glean e-mail addresses from websites without your permission. If you are posting to a web forum or newsgroup, use your disposable e-mail address instead of your main e-mail address.
If you want to post an e-mail address on your home page, use “info@” and have all replies forwarded to a folder in your in-box that won’t interfere with your main address.
4. Create traceable e-mail accounts
If you own a web domain, all mail going to an address at your domain is probably set up to come directly to you by default. For example, an e-mail addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org will be delivered to your in-box.
This is a great way to fight unsolicited messages without missing out on the important e-mails you want to receive. The next time you sign up for a newsletter, use the title of the website in your e-mail address. For example, if the website is titled “www.greatwidgets.com,” enter "email@example.com" as your e-mail address. If you get spammed, look at what address the spam was sent to.
If firstname.lastname@example.org shows up as the original recipient, you know the source since that e-mail address was unique to that web site. Now you can easily stop the spam by making any e-mail sent to that address bounce back to the sender.
5. Don’t open, reply to or try to opt-out of obvious spam
Opening, replying to, or even clicking a bogus opt-out link in an obvious junk message signals the sender that your e-mail address is active, and more spam will follow.
The only time it is safe to click on the opt-out link or reply to the e-mail is when the message was sent from a company you know or do business with (for example, a company that you purchase from or a newsletter you subscribed to).