Warning: Spam e-mails are not only annoying and time consuming, but they’re also becoming more dangerous to your personal privacy and the security of your computer. Millions of computers users are getting infected, spoofed, and tricked by spam e-mails every year, forcing the user to pay hefty fees to clean and restore their PCs back to working order.
So what can we do about this?
- 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 Juno and use it when buying or opting in to online newsletters. You can also use a throwaway e-mail address when making purchases or subscribing to newsletters (see #4 below).
- 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 every online advertiser. To avoid this from happening, simply take a closer look at every online form you fill out.
- Don’t post your main e-mail address on your website, web forums, or newsgroups.
Spammers have special programs that can 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 inbox that won’t interfere with your main address.
- Create throwaway 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 inbox. This is a great way to fight spam without missing out on important e-mails you want to get. 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.
- Don’t open, reply to or try to opt-out of obvious spam e-mails.
Opening, replying to, or even clicking a bogus opt-out link in an obvious spam e-mail signals 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).
Want to permanently stop spam from taking over your inbox? Call us at 1.800.638.9784 or e-mail MyIT@networth.ca today to see how we can tidy up your emails.