Avoiding Spam










There are a number of steps you can take to help minimize the amount of spam you receive:

1 Never EVER buy products or services from a spammer If you buy products or services from a spammer, you are only encouraging this type of advertisement/business.
2 Never try to unsubscribe yourself from a list. Most spammers ignore requests to be removed from their list.  After all, they make money by sending out messages.  In many cases, the unsubscribe email address is a fake or dead address as well.

Spammers will also use someone else's email address or telephone number in the unsubscribe section of their messages, just to cause that person or company grief.  Anti-spam companies are often targets of this kind of action.

See #3.

3 Never reply to a spam message. By responding to a spammer, you are confirming to him that your address is real and current, which makes it more valuable to him, and more valuable for selling to other spammers.
4 Never send 'free' internet greeting cards. Ask yourself "Why are these services free? How do they make money by supplying a web site where I can send cards for free?".

They make money by storing your email address AND the email address of the person you are sending the internet greeting card to, and then selling them to 'online advertisers' (translation:  spammers).

5 Take care when and where you sign up for newsletters, etc. If you must sign up for a newsletter or other similar items on a web site, be sure to indicate that you do not want any email from them or their 'affiliates' or 'partners'.

When possible, have a second email account, such as on Hotmail or Yahoo, that you use for this kind of thing.  Keep your main email account for normal use.

6 Do not open a spam message. There are codes that can be inserted in a spam message that instantly sends a message to a spammer that you have just opened his email message.  Now he knows that the email address he sent it to is real and current, and that his message caught your eye. See #3.

You can then expect to receive even more spam from that person, probably promoting similar products/services from other companies that he sends out spam for.

7 On your web site, mask your email addresses. This is not always feasible, but when possible, use masking techniques on your web site.  Spammers employ software programs (called spiders) that cruise the internet harvesting every email address they can find on a web site.

There are various methods, including using JavaScript or graphic files or web forms in place of email addresses that can be used.

8 Do not publish your email address in online directories. Spammers collect addresses from internet directories.  To them it's like picking fruit in an orchard.  Don't put your address in any directories.
9 Hide your record in Instant Messenger, ICQ, etc. This is also a prime address-harvesting area for spammers.  Be sure to block your profile from all users when using instant messenger services.
10 Do not use your real email address in chat rooms. Spammers regularly harvest names from chat room profiles.
11 Do not install 'free' software on your computer. Some examples of free software packages:  Gator, Bonzi Software, Comet Cursor, Conducent Timesink, Flyswat, GoHip!, Radiate (Aureate), Web3000, etc.

File and music-sharing software, and other so-called free software often install spyware on your PC that tells them when and where you surf. They can then sell that information, along with your email address that you gave when you registered, to spam companies to be used in targeted email campaigns.

12 Do not forward chain letters. Many of the chain email letters and hoax email letters (from 'Bobby in Nebraska who is dying of cancer') can be used by spammers to collect email addresses. After all, there are tens or hundreds of current email addresses on them, just ripe for harvesting.
13 Hide your profile in discussion groups. Many people use discussion groups for various useful and legitimate reasons, as well as just for fun.  Be sure to block your profile from other users, or use a second 'disposable' email address such as Hotmail or Yahoo for this kind of thing.


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