SPAM is email that is unsolicited (email that you didn’t ask for). This mail is commonly trying to sell you something. Typically it is just irritating, however SPAM could also include malware like a virus, or connect you to phishing websites that attempt to steal your private information. It is not possible to prevent all spam, but the following are some methods to hold spam to a minimum.
1. Software geared at fighting viruses will provide a safeguard from spam with ill intent. Make sure that your computer has antivirus software installed. (Some antivirus software includes a spam filter that protects your computer.) Although you will probably realize that you should not open an email with an unknown attachment, because viruses can also be contained in pictures or Word documents.
2. Don’t give your email address to untrustworthy people. If you have to give your email address to get something from a website, it is best to set up an email address just for the purpose of receiving junk. Web based email, like Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, is a good choice for this.
3. Don’t reply to any email unless you have asked for that email.
4. A lot of spam messages include directions at the end of the message requesting that you answer the message if you desire to be taken off their mailing list. Don’t do it, since this will only ensure them that this is a real email address, and you will probably receive more spam. For the same reason, you shouldn’t give your address for opting-out or removing it from a list.
5. Check out any email by first looking at the subject line prior to opening the message.
6. Do not forward any email you may receive soliciting help or money. It is probably a scam, and this is a good method for spammers to obtain email addresses. Many emails warning of a virus are also a hoax. You should investigate virus cautions before you speak to your friends about this so you don’t circulate the scam also.
7. If you send emails to a lot of people at the same time, send it by the BCC field; this protects their email addresses from other people.
8. Just like item #2, above, don’t give your address for placement on mailing lists in chat rooms or to newsgroups. You should have a ‘throwaway’ address to use for this and another address for friends and family.
9. If you put your email address on your website, tell your web designer to encrypt it so that people who send spam can’t see what it is. One effective encryption program is ‘enkoder’. It is free of cost. You can do a Google search for Enkoder.
10. You can send a complaint to the spammer’s web host or Internet Service Provider (ISP) by shooting an email to the server’s webmaster. Many servers put an abuse email address as an IP address for WHOIS. You can read the heading in the email, locate the IP address it comes from, and perform a WHOIS search. There should be an abuse email address. You can look up IP WHOIS for free at http://whois.domaintools.com