What can I do to reduce my Spam or unwanted email?
This is a very common question that I hear all too frequently and I usually respond with there are many things that you can do to reduce Spam but unfortunately it is almost impossible to stop all unsolicited emails. Nearly everyone experiences this problem; you open your email and then spend the next ten minutes deleting unwanted emails from your inbox. So below are my thoughts on how to reduce the number of spam emails that you receive.
Things NOT to do
- Don’t publish your email on your website. Most websites today do not show their contact email address but instead use a form to send email to you. The website visitor fills out an online email form and then clicks send, that way the form hides the email address. If you do show your email in plain text, your email address will be harvested by the Spiders (software programs) that crawl through the web and harvest any email addresses found on your website. Spammers then use these addresses to send spam or sell the list to others to use for sending spam.
- Don’t post your email address on public forums or media apps. Unless you absolutely need to do so don’t post your email address on Facebook, Gumtree, eBay etc, etc.
- Don’t unsubscribe from newsletters unless they are Australian. Some emails / Newsletters have a link or button to unsubscribe from their list. Generally, it is not a good idea to use this unless it is from an Australian company. To verify if it is Australian, check the email address. If it ends in .au then it should be Australian, but also check it by hovering the mouse over the link (don’t click it). As you hover over the link the address will be displayed, again check the domain name ends in .au. Australian sites are compelled by law to remove you from their list and you can contact the telecommunications ombudsman if they fail to do so. Don’t use the unsubscribe button for non-Australian lists as you may just be confirming your address is valid and they will add you to their spam list.
- Don’t give your email addresses out for competitions etc. If you enter games, competitions or giveaways etc then consider using another email address created for just that purpose. If this junk email address becomes compromised or fills up with spam you can delete it and create a new one.Turn off pictures from unknown email addresses.
- Turn off automatic downloading of pictures when receiving emails. Usually your email software will turn off the downloading of pictures by default. Spammers can use automatic downloading of pictures to detect if the email address is active and then add the address to a spam list.
- If you think an email is spam don’t click anything in the email. This one is fairly obvious; if you click a link or button, not only might you find your email address on a spam list but also install a virus or malware application.
- Don’t block individual email addresses. Generally, it is not a good idea to block spam addresses unless you know the email address you are blocking is genuine. Spammers change the email address for each and every email they send out so if you block the address, it will only slow down your email receival as the program checks all the blocked addresses.
Things TO do
- If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has a spam filter, consider turning it on. Many ISP’s have an option to help detect spam and either remove it or tag the email as spam. Some ISP’s charge a fee for this service so you will need to check with your ISP for details. If the ISP tags your email as spam you can use a rule in your email software to delete or automatically move any marked as spam to a junk folder.
- If your email comes in via your Domain, then use a commercial spam blocker. There are a number of commercial email scanning services. Basically, all emails that are sent to your domain will be checked for spam and also against your own personal white and black lists. If the email is thought be to Ok then it will be sent to your inbox. Otherwise it will be considered as possible spam and added into a summary email that will be sent every few hours. These emails can then be released if not spam or marked as Ok for future emails or just released this time only etc. Check out our website for more details on the Avast spam blocking system.
Ok I did all that and I’m still getting far too much Spam
As a last resort you can delete your email account and start a new email address that will be unknown to the spammers. This can take some effort to achieve, so below are some steps you might want to consider:
- Login to your ISP or ask your IT Consultant to create a new email address for you. Most ISP’s have a way to add new email addresses to your account. If unsure ask an IT consultant for advice on how to create a new account. When you choose a new email address, make the email account easy for other people to identify e.g. if your account was firstname.lastname@example.org you might consider changing to email@example.com
- Be sure to inform all your current contacts of your new email and your intention to delete the old account at some point in the future. Your IT Consultant can help you send a message to all the people in your contacts list but you will need to check them and remove any old or invalid email addresses before sending.
- Continue to monitor your old email account after the changes and remind anyone sending email to the old address that the email will be closed soon and to use the new one.
- After a period of grace – close and delete the old account.
- Don’t advertise your new email unless they are friends or clients and don’t respond to any unknown emails unless you’re sure you know who they are. If you respond and they are spammers then they will start sending spam or sell your address to other spammers.