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Spam Control: Take a Bite Out of Spam

Junk email, also known as spam, clogs up in boxes across the world. Because it’s free to send, spam is virtually unstoppable. Attempts at legislating bulk email have failed and the mass emailers continue their internet assault. Ads for mortgages, prescription drugs and certain body part enhancements are typical.

According to industry analysts, over 12 billion spam messages are sent every day. Spam is expected to increase 63% by 2007. The proliferation of spam has spawned an entire industry of spam fighters. A few years ago, an anti-virus program became a necessity to protect computers from viruses. Now, anti-spam programs are growing in popularity. These programs are similar to anti-virus programs and often come bundled with them. They are regularly updated to detect and eliminate the latest trends. But spammers are quick to adapt, so it’s a never-ending battle.

Here are a few other steps to protect your email address. Never post your email address on a website or a forum because automated computer programs scour the internet in search of email addresses to harvest. If you must place an email address on your website, consider using a graphic, an email form or spell it out in a format such as: email at address dot com.

When signing up for or purchasing anything on the internet, make sure that you are not inadvertently opting in to a mailing list. Many websites have little check boxes pre-selected that automatically sign you up to receive special offers from the website and its partners. Careful, their partners could be anyone they decide to sell their email list to! Make sure to unselect these options.

If you are interested in signing up for special offers or a newsletter, use a disposable email address. Many people use web-based email systems for this but this solution is growing obsolete. By signing up for a web-based email system, you will often find that you need to wade through even more spam to find the special offer or newsletter you want to try out in the first place.

Many websites exist that let you create a self-destructing email address. These addresses forward a certain amount of emails to your main account, allowing you to try out a newsletter or other service up to a certain limit. Once that limit is reached, you no longer receive the emails from that company. This allows you to try out a newsletter or service. If you find that they are legitimate and you enjoy receiving their emails, you can make that address permanent. If not, if they are sending you nothing but junk and selling your address, you don’t have to live with the spam. It automatically self-destructs once the limit is reached, or you can go in and reduce the number to zero.

Many email programs allow you to create filters and message rules. This is time consuming and hard to keep up with. For instance, if you create a rule saying to delete any email containing the word “Viagra” that will work for a while. But soon you will notice emails with the word “Vi@gra”, “Vi-ag-ra” and other creative spellings.

Spam Control

If your email address is already heavily bombarded, you may want to consider changing it. Once changed, protect it by giving it out only to trusted contacts, not posting it online, using a disposable address for any purchases or web transactions and arm yourself with an anti-spam program.

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