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…sending unsolicited emails telling people you live in a foreign country and have millions of U.S. dollars in a bank account but can’t access it without your credit card number, social security number, and a small fee to bribe top-ranking government officials who need Cialis and other EOM software packages at below wholesale prices.

Or, 10 Incredibly Effective Tips To Help Stop Spam

According to the 2010 Symantc MessageLabs Intelligence annual report,

  • 89% of all emails are spam.
  • 90% of spam is in English
  • 91% of spam contains some form of link
  • 1 in 284.2 emails identified to contain viruses/malware
  • 1 in 444.5 emails were blocked as phishing attacks

The types of Spam most frequently received by U.S. Email users was

  • 2/3 of of all spam is related to pharmaceutical products97.4% Medication
  • 9.67% Shopping
  • 96.1% Body enhancement
  • 94.7% Pornography
  • 88.2% Gambling

Considering that the first piece of unsolicited bulk email was sent in 1978, it’s apparent that spam has become more than a nuisance — it’s down-right out of control and it’s going to take more than a little bit of effort to sidetrack it.

10 Tips to Help Stop Spam and Keep Your Email Inbox Clear of Junk Mail

1. Don’t post your email address anywhere on your website.

And I mean nowhere! Not visible on the page or embedded into the website programming. Nowhere.

Why?: Because there exists an evil little Internet varmint called Spam Bots, Spam Script, Email Spiders, and Email harvesters. Essentially, they’re small programs that scour websites looking for email addresses. Once found, they collect and send back the information to the Spammer. A perfect example how good programming can be used for evil purposes.

What this means, is that if your email address is displayed anywhere on a website (outside a secure environment which can be identified by the leading “https” of a website URL) it will be sucked from the site and you will eventually start receiving unsolicited emails (Spam) trying to sell you just about anything and everything under sun.

Solution: Place a contact form on your website instead

Using a website form is a simple and way way to help fend off spammers while still allowing customers to contact you. The reason is because the information submitted through a form is sent to, and processed by, a script on your server which then sends the information to an email address specified by you. The spammer never sees the email address.

You don’t need anything fancy. Just a simple contact form for users to fill out and submit. Some basic form fields are;

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Comments or Questions

This gives you and the user just enough information to make contact and continue the discussion either on- or off-line. And don’t worry if you’re not a website programmer because there are some web-based services such as WUFOO you can use to easily add form functionality to your website.

In the end, one way or another, your email address will still fall into the wrong hands. All it takes is one person unwittingly downloading a virus into their system which then accesses your email address from their address book — which gets your email address back into the hands of a spammer.

As it stands, even using the above suggestion, I still have to change my email address at least once a year. That said, it is still one of the easiest ways to stop spam from being sent to you.

2. Create Separate Emails Accounts Specifically for Non-Business Use

You should have, at a minimum, three separate email address. One strictly for business, one for personal use (friends, family, etc.) and one for online shopping. And if you don’t have your own website, you can easily get free email accounts through Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

3. Use a Disposable Email Address for Quick Registrations

Seems everyone loves to shop and browse online. Problem is, you don’t want to provide your email address to someone every time you want to download a free product sample or informational PDF. For situations such as this, the easy solution is to use a disposable email address.

What is a disposable email address you ask?

As the name implies, it’s a very temporary email address that is assigned by a (free) online service such as SpamScams.net. From their website;

Hate spam? SpamScams.net — the ultimate spam email archive — provides you with disposable e-mail addresses. Any e-mails sent to the assigned address will show up automatically on the web page. You can read them, click on links, and even reply to them. The e-mail address will expire after 15 minutes. It’s a great way to help avoid spam, scams, and email phishing schemes.

It’s a perfect solution for those times you want to keep your information to yourself. Best of all, no knowledge of programming is needed — anyone can use it.

Contactify allows you to create your own personal contact form so you never have to reveal your email address — even a disposable one. This is not only a great idea but they now allow you to add a form to your own website with a simple piece of code. To see how it works, contact me through my Contactify form.

And another Top 20 temporary and Disposable email Services

4. Use email forwarding

Email forwarding is a technique where you create a “fake” email address and then tell your server that any email sent to that address should be delivered (forwarded) to your real email address.

For the more technically inclined:

Create a forwarded email address for each business you subscribe.

For example; if you subscribe to an email list or buying a product from “Best Marketing Company”, create a forwarded email address like “bestmarketingcompany@yourdomain.com” and then forward it to your real email address.

The benefit to this technique is that if you start receiving spam, you’ll know where it came from and you simply delete the forward. No fuss, no muss, and you don’t have to go through the hassle of deleting and setting up new email addresses.

For the less technically inclined:

Another option is to use the “+ email filter”.

For example; if your email address is joe@gmail.com and you’re going to subscribe to an email newsletter from “Best Marketing Company” you can simply enter your email address as joe+bestmarketingcompany@gmail.com. Most email providers will automatically ignore the “+” and deliver the email to joe@gmail.com.

On the plus side, it’s faster and easier. On the negative side, there’s no way to permanently delete the + filtered email address. Instead, you need to create a new spam filter to delete all emails sent to that email address.

5. Use Spam Filters

The majority of email clients (software) includes the ability to setup filters that will automatically perform certain tasks. Such as; automatically deleting any email with a subject of “CONGRATULATIONS YOU WIN”, or “Buy Cheap Cial1s”.

If you don’t already know how to set up and use Spam Filters, click on HELP in the main menu of your email software.

6. Don’t Buy Anything Offered in Spam Email

When you buy products from these slime balls, you’re just supporting their spammy cause. Remember, if no one bought their products, they would have no reason to spam you. Unfortunately, there’s always one person who actually buys into their con.

And the most important thing to remember, above all else, NEVER, EVER believe or reply to an email promising you huge amounts of money if you help them access it, either through legal fees, bribes, or purchasing an expensive magical solution that turns colored paper into cash. Your first clue will be that these spammers and scammers are located in Nigeria. When it comes to Spam email, Nigeria = Bad.

7. Report All Spam Email

The U.S. Government has been kind enough to provide an email address just for this purpose. Please use it. spam@uce.gov

8. Remove Your Name From Email Lists

How your name got on an email list in the first place is anyone’s guess. More than likely, you ordered something online and unwittingly gave your permission to either receive email from them or subscribed to their newsletter. In any case, you now have the ability to have your name removed from email lists.

Get your name off E-mail Lists

9. Read Privacy Notices, Carefully

Do you have a credit card? How about a cable TV account? If you do, then at some point, they’ll send you a privacy notice—usually stuffed into the envelope along with your bill and twenty other pieces of extraneous “buy this” advertisements.

What you may have missed in reading the fine print on panel 12 is a statement that allows them to provide your information to other “associated” third parties. This means that unless you specifically call or write to them (usually within 30 days) and specifically request to have your information kept private, your lack of a response gives them your permission to share your information — including your email address.

You can now say hello to even more spam and more junk mail.

10. Set Default Address to “:fail:” or “:blackhole:”

For the technical, website administration inclined, this is simply a matter of configuring your server to only accept emails sent to valid email accounts. All others will either be bounced back to the sender as non-deliverable (:fail:) or simple deleted (:blackhole:).

Pros: A large percentage of spam is sent to fictitious email addresses, such as “joesales@yourdomain.com” so they will be handled appropriately per your settings.

Cons: If one of your clients/customers accidentally sends you an email in which your name was misspelled, you’ll never receive it. Then again, if you made sure your client’s have your phone number and you make the effort to keep in contact, they can also contact you the old fashion way.

Conclusion

In conclusion, let me just state for the record that I really hate spam.

Loathe it.

Perhaps I’m just preaching to the choir. But unless we can all work together to stop spam, it’s just going to get worse, and worse, and worse. In fact, spam is already consuming so much bandwidth at the resent moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few more years a new Internet needed to be create just so we can conduct business. A little extreme? Maybe? but something must be done, and hopefully the above tips can help you keep your day a little bit more sane, your business a little more stress free, and your email a little bit more effective.