The email in your "in-box" is
often filled with unwanted messages. You did not ask for it, but yet it
keeps coming. Here are some tips to reduce the spam factor in email.
Protect Your E-mail Address
The best strategy is to keep spammers from getting your address in the
first place. Many spam mailing lists are created by harvesting e-mail
addresses from websites where your information may be displayed. Newsgroups,
bulletin boards, and chat rooms are examples of places where spammers
can collect an e-mail address. Some bulletin boards have safeguards
to protect their members, but there is no safety if members post their
personal information. In addition, signing up with unknown sources for
online contests, mailing lists, and similar occasions where you need
to provide an address as part of the registration process may also expose
your address to spammers. If you want to keep your mailbox clean, keep
your address private.
Create a Spam E-Mail Account
Keeping spammers away from e-mail is not always possible, especially
in a business environment. You can however create what is sometimes
referred to as a "throw-away" account. Get a free email address
at Hotmail and Yahoo.
The throwaway account can be used when registering with newsgroups,
bulletin boards, sweepstakes, or in any other situation where you're
not quite sure your privacy will be protected. Make sure this is an
address where you are not expecting any important mail. If spammers
invade then just "throw it away" and get a new "throwaway
Message Rules in Email Programs (Outlook
in Windows; Entourage for MAC, are examples)
You can create message rules in most programs that collect email. Outlook
and Entourage have a drop down menu that allows you to manually filter
the delivery of e-mail, and can be created to analyze the sender's name,
subject line, and message body before processing. For example, a rule
can be created so that any message with a particularly offensive word
in the subject line is automatically moved to the Deleted Items folder,
or even better, just deleted from the server before the download.
Another option provided by Outlook and Entourage allows the user to
add senders to their Blocked Senders list. No rule needs
to be created, and in a few clicks, a sender of unsolicited e-mail can
be added to your personal blocked senders list. Whenever mail arrives
from this sender in the future, it will skip the inbox and go straight
to the Deleted Items folder.
Third Party Software
There are numerous applications available for purchase, or as free downloads,
specifically intended to filter spam as it enters your inbox. These
programs identify telltale signs of a spam message by analyzing hidden
tags in the message, use of text and images in the message, and various
other clues available that point to a message being unwanted.
A few examples of spam filtering software that is available are from
these three companies; SPAMfighter, MailWasher, and Cloudmark. Each
offers its own twist on the interface and manageability, but they all
allow users to take control of the spam in their mailboxes.
Server Based Solutions
Most major Internet service providers (ISP) now offer a spam filter
as part of the package offered to its subscribers. AOL and Earthlink
are just two of the big names out there that include a spam filter in
with other attractive features like virus protection and pop up blockers.
These ISP provide filters which effectively manage spam at the server
before delivery, but they are generally not overly customizable on the
end user level, and they obviously only protect e-mail accounts provided
by the ISP.
Check with your Internet provider, if the tech staff
in your organization are not doing this internally, for the ways in which
they are helping filter spam.