Let’s face it, if you have an email account you are getting spam emails. In the past we dealt with junk mail coming to our mailbox every day. Since the internet has taken over our lives, we are now dealing with the same sort of junk mail, only it is in cyber form. While this is better for the environment as we are no longer wasting paper, it is no less annoying.
If your email is becoming overrun with spam, there are some steps that you can take in order to prevent these emails from coming through because not only are these emails annoying, they also can be malicious.
Use an Email Filter
One way that you can lower the number of spam emails you receive is to use email filters. Most email services provide a tool that you can use to filter out potential spam or to push spam into a special folder.
Another step you can take to help prevent or lessen the amount of spam that you receive is to consider using 2 or more email addresses. One email can be used for personal and work messages and the other can be used for shopping, coupons, chat rooms, blogs, newsletters, etc. You can also use disposable email addresses that will forward your emails to a permanent account. If this account begins receiving spam you can just shut it down without affecting your regular permanent email address.
It is also important to limit the exposure of your email on public sites. This includes putting your email on blog posts, social media, in chat rooms, for online membership directories, etc. Spammers like to use these posts to harvest different email addresses.
Look Over Privacy Policies
In addition, when you are providing your email address to the website, make sure that you look for any pre-checked boxes on the form. These boxes typically give permission for email updates to be sent from the company as well as any of its partners. You can typically uncheck this box in order to opt out of getting these types of mailings.
Choose a Username that is Unique
Believe it or not, the email address that you choose can affect how much spam you get. When trying to find legitimate emails spammers will send out bulk emails to potential name combinations in the hopes to find valid addresses to use. For this reason a common name like firstname.lastname@example.org is going to get more spam sent to them than a more creative name such as J35neD0e@email.com.
Reducing Spam Overall
Spammers and hackers are out there patrolling the internet just trying to find computers that have security software that isn’t up to date. When these people find computers that are unprotected they will then attempt to install malware that will allow them to remotely control the computers.
Thousands of these unprotected computers are linked together to form a botnet, which is a network that spammers use in order to send out millions of emails all at once. There are many home computers that are currently a part of these botnets.
To prevent this, do not let spammers have access to your personal computer by practicing good security techniques. You should always disconnect your computer from the web when you are not using it. If your computer is not connected, spammers will not be able to use it.
Do not open attachments or download files from emails that you receive unless you know who they are from and you are expecting the files. Often times spammers can send emails that look like they are from your friends or coworkers, but in reality they are not.
Only download software from sites that you know and you trust.
Getting Rid of Malware
It can be quite difficult to determine whether you have malware installed on your computer. Some things to look for include:
- Your friends start receiving weird emails from you
- Your computer may start to run more slowly
- There may be emails showing up in the sent folder and you did not send them.
If this happens, make sure that you disconnect your computer from the internet and then take the necessary steps to remove the malware.
If you are receiving spam it is important to report it. You can forward any deceptive or unwanted emails to the following services:
- Email Provider: most email providers give you the option of reporting spam emails to them. When sending a complaint to the email provider make sure that you state at the top of your message that you are complaining about spam.
- FTC: You can report spam email to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at email@example.com. When reporting spam email to the FTC make sure that you include the entire spam email.
- Sender’s Email Provider: if you know who the email provider of the sender is, report the spam email to them. Most ISPs and web email providers want to get rid of spammers who are abusing their systems. When reporting make sure that you include the entire email that you were sent and mention that you are complaining about spam.
These are just a few steps that you can take to cut down on the amount of spam email that you receive. Taking these precautions and reporting your spam emails can help reduce the number of spammers out there just waiting to send out these annoying emails.
*Featured Image – Credit PaulPaladin