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Stop Spam Email

Spam is: unwanted email.  Spam can be more than an annoyance - unwanted emails can contain viruses or phishing scams. Knowing about spam and how do deal with it is important to help stop  spam. Also included are tips to stop spam and a tip for web designers.

Nuggets

One of the most effective ways to stop spam is to create a list of good email addresses and not to accept (i.e. the emails will go into a junk or bulk folder) any emails that are not in the white list. Usually the good ones in the junk folder can be marked as 'not spam' so they do not end up in the junk folder.

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About Spam

How do spammers get my email address? Many ways:

Some spammers acquire email lists and broadcast their junk mail using it. Most ISPs are wise to this and will limit the number of emails sent. Spammers have figured out a way around this by using other people's computers to do their bidding. These zombie computers send out unwanted email at the direction of the spammer. The computer user, infected by a zombie virus, is probably unaware their pc is being used for nefarious reasons. Sometimes the user's own address list is used by a zombie to send out spam (and itself).

Freeware can be a bane to users. Downloading freeware may have strings attached so read the fine print. One such nit is that the freeware may 'legally' be able to send your address list to the spammer.

For Web Designers


 The mailto: anchor link in the form of

<a href="mailto:[email protected]">Email Us</a>

is easily parsed by a spambot. One way to make it harder for spambots to get email addresses off web pages is to encrypt it. See different ways to hide email from spambots . Note the Email Us link will look and act the same to the user, that is, they click on the link and it brings up their default email program.

How to Reduce Spam

One very effective way to stop spam is to use a throwaway email account. The throwaway email address is tied to a real email address. The throwaway email address is used where you do not want to give out your real email address such as certain forums, etc. If an email is sent to the throwaway address it is rejected or put in a special folder for you to peruse later.

Another idea is to put extra letters in your email address like:

  [email protected]_SPAMprovider.com

Make sure the extra letters are after the @ sign so the ISP provider does not get junk mail.

Do not respond to spam (such as requesting them to stop). This only tells the spammer the email address is valid and will increase your spam email.

Many ISPs have antispam software. If you are downloading email from an ISP to another program such as Outlook, you can invoke antispam software on the email account before it is downloaded to your email program.

Most of the time adding spam email addresses to a blocked sender list does not work. And why?  Spammers change their email addresses all the time which are usually fraudulent.

One of the best ways to prevent spam is to create a list of good email addresses (a white list) and not to accept (i.e. the emails will go into a junk file) any emails that are not in the white list. If a wanted email ends up in the junk file it can be accepted as 'not spam' and the email's address added.


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Anti Spam Programs

Anti spam programs use several methods to determine good from bad email.

White List

A white list is a list of known good email addresses or domains.

Black List

A black list is a list of known bad email addresses or domains.

Content Analysis

A content analysis is analyzing the email contents, where it came from, etc and determines whether it is spam.

Categories

Several categories can be chosen to filter on: adult content, health, etc.

Challenge/Response

A challenge/response system is where the sender is sent a responding email that he has to do something, such as click on a link. Once this is done, his email address is added to your whitelist. Since spammers rarely give valid return email addresses this system works well.

Address Filtering

The incoming email can be rejected by specifying individual email addresses or domains be deleted or moved into a junk folder.
 

A false positive spam is a valid email that are falsely flagged as spam.
Some antispam programs collect data, such as the body, addresses, and URLs from the emails that are manually marked by the recipient and send it back to the vendor so they can improve their filtering.
The most effective fight to stop spam is using permission-based filters. Anything that is not in a whitelist is considered spam and put in a junk folder for you to sort out later.

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