How to Protect yourself from Junk Mail

While most of us love to communicate through email, our inboxes are often flooded with a multitude of unwanted spam or junk mail causing us great apprehension and frustration. In case you are not sure what constitutes spam or junk mail, it is the volumes of unsolicited messages you encounter from individuals or businesses you most likely have never heard of, and the ones you spend most of your time deleting. While no one has invented a sure fire way to avoid these unwanted nuances, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep these to a minimum.

How these "spammers" get your email address:

Most spammers have sophisticated automated software, known as "spambots," that roams the internet 24/7 searching in every nook and cranny looking for email addresses. It finds these through websites, discussion forums, USENET newsgroups, listservs, etc. where you have posted your email address for various reasons. In addition, they often use automated tools to generate email addresses by using likely combinations used in many addresses, such as abc@hotmail.com or abcde@hotmail.com. They bank on the fact that in all likelihood a percentage of these will be valid, and, most of the time, they are right.

Some advice on how to protect yourself from this invasion:

  1. Choose a relatively long email address - using a combination of characters and letters at least 8 long.
  2. If at all possible, don't post your email address unless absolutely necessary.
  3. Since #2 is usually not probable, consider creating a second email address by signing up for a free email service, such as Yahoo. Use this second email account to post to the various areas as needed, and the spammers will only have the second account instead of your primary one. This way you can at least keep the spam mail separated from the email that is most important to you.
  4. Some of the available email application software, such as Microsoft Outlook, flag suspicious emails and send them to a folder marked "Junk E-Mail." In addition, through the Actions menu, under Junk E-Mail, you can block the sender, which prevents you from receiving anymore spam from a particular sender.
  5. Check with your Internet Service Provider to see if they have a service that will filter out spam email.

Let's hope some day someone will find a way to completely eliminate spam emails, but until then you can take action now to keep it at a minimum.

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