Spam email messages are the electronic equivalent of junk mail. Usually sent out in bulk, they are emails that you haven’t asked for, from senders that you don’t know. The nature and content of spam messages varies – everything from advertising goods and services to get-rich-quick schemes and phishing scams. Some may also contain offensive materials or carry viruses and malware that can damage your computer.
Spam can quickly clog up your Inbox and make it hard to sort and find messages. Fortunately, most email programs and webmail accounts use spam filters to intercept spam messages before they arrive in your Inbox. Intercepted spam is usually placed in your junk mail folder. However, there are steps you can take to help reduce the amount of spam your email address receives. Here are our top ten tips:
TIP 1 Be careful with your email address. Spammers need to know your email address before they can send you spam, so only give your address to those you wish to receive email from.
TIP 2 Create an alternative webmail address. Use this separate email address when shopping online, registering for online services or posting on forums. If you start to get a lot of spam to this email address, you can delete it and set up a fresh account.
TIP 3 Choose a complicated email address. This can reduce the risk of being sent tons of spam emails. For example, avoid combining your first name and surname as your email address.
TIP 4 Check the privacy terms on websites before registering. That way you can avoid signing up with companies that plan to sell your email address to third parties who will use it for advertising and other spam purposes.
TIP 5 Never open or reply to a spam message. Spam is usually sent in bulk by automated computer systems. Opening or replying to spam confirms your email address, which means you’ll typically receive even more spam.
TIP 6 Never use the ‘unsubscribe’ options in spam. While this may seem a good way to stop unwanted email from a particular sender, it’s more likely to confirm your email address and encourage more spam to head towards your Inbox.
TIP 7 Report spam to your email or webmail provider. Before deleting a spam message, report it as spam as this helps your email provider determine and eliminate future spam emails. You can usual do this by clicking ‘Report as junk’ (or similar) when prompted.
TIP 8 Never click on links in a spam email. If you open a spam message by mistake, be careful not to click on any link. This not only confirms your email address as valid but marks you as a user who is likely to click on links – thus making you a prime target for more spam and phishing attacks.
TIP 9 Never open attachments in spam. Attachments on spam email may contain computer viruses and other malware that can infect and damage your computer.
TIP 10 Check your spam or junk mail folder. Be sure to check your junk mail or spam folder regularly, just in case a genuine message has been redirected by mistake.