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A Guide to Avoiding and Stopping Spam

If you asked Internet users what annoyed them the most, I can guarantee that spam will make it into one of the top spots of anyone's list, along with more trivial situations such as a slow connection. So if spammers are so loathed then why do we still get spam emails on such a frequent occasion? Some countries have even made it illegal to send spam so why would people still risk it? The answer to both of these questions is simple, because it's easy to do so and it works. Sending spam in bulk email is cheap and the spammer makes money while your business loses huge amounts every year. As well as the devastating money loss; spam can cause your system to crash, resulting in loss of data and time due to your servers being overloaded with spam.

The spreading of viruses in your businesses computer network becomes evident; destroying data, records and systems, costing you billions of pounds each year. You could also have messages, data and images hidden on your computer ? things that have been sent through to your system that you know nothing about, but may be held responsible ? or even lose your job. This may sound extreme but sadly these are the facts we are facing due to the ever growing abuse of spam emails. So what can we do to protect our businesses from the threat of spam? There are certain things that you can do in order to protect your email address from spammers, such as: ? If you have to post your email address on websites replace @ with (at) and . with (dot).

This way people will know that it is your email address but spammers who use these sites to harvest email addresses won't. ? Don't post to newsgroups or discussion lists as they are the main source for spammers to get email addresses. In 2002 a survey was done which showed that 97% of spam was sent to addresses that were posted on public websites such as newsgroups. ? Avoid getting listed in online directories or chat rooms Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or web-based email services have online directories that you can sign-up to when subscribing to their service. Avoid doing this as your email is likely to be harvested by spammers.

Also when using chat rooms make sure that you have a display name so that your email address isn't shown every time you post something. ? Don't use a live email link. Avoid putting live email links on your website as it is the easiest way for spammers to harvest your email address but you have to be careful as potential customers could need that email address. There are several ways you can solve this problem, for example put a contact form on your website so that people can write messages and the appropriate person can get back to them.

You could also use an auto responder, which is where if someone emails the auto responder it will reply with your company email address; spammers will fail to see this reply. ? Use multiple email address, always have separate email accounts for work and personal use. This will cut down on the amount of spam you will receive for your work account, protecting your network more. ? Don't reply to spam emails. This may sound obvious but this goes for trying to unsubscribe to the email as this will only cause you to receive more spam as you have verified that the email account is live.

? Never buy anything. Spammers make money when people buy their products online, giving them more incentive to send more spam mail, so if no one buys their products or services they fail to have a reason to send junk email. If you are suffering from a heavy burden of spam and none of the above has helped to reduce it then it is advised that you look into investing in a spam filter. Spam filters block almost all spam emails as well as giving you virus control. If you don't already have a spam filter then look into the benefits of one today and stop the spam tomorrow.

Helen Cox is the web master for MySpamBin, home of all your web filtering and spyware protection. Please feel free to republish this article providing this resource box remains intact with a working hyperlink to our site.

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