What is Spam?
Spam is any email message that contains commercial advertising. In most cases, spam is unsolicited, sent on an extremely large scale, and annoying to email users. It is estimated that up to 95% of all email messages sent are spam of some kind.
Spammers, as senders of the messages are called, typically buy lists of email recipients or harvest email addresses from various places on the Web, including information forms and public email list sites. In addition, spammers can also use computer programs that randomly “guess” email addresses as well.
Effects of spam
Besides cluttering your inbox and being a waste of time and a hassle, there are other reasons why spam should be checked. First of all, spam is often a source of computer viruses. Malicious people who create viruses often disguise them as emails from legitimate advertising sources to encourage users to open or download content. Secondly, spam is often used as a weapon of theft, fraud or scam. Emails that mimic real companies asking for login information, personal information, or payment information cost innocent consumers every day.
The easiest way to protect yourself from the headaches associated with spam is to know how to avoid it altogether. Here are some of the most effective techniques!
Use a spam filter: Most email accounts will offer some sort of spam filter. However, it is up to the user to activate this function and set its parameters. Take the time to ensure that a spam filter is in place for all email accounts and review and/or adjust the settings to ensure they are effective. Also, since an email that you identify as spam appears in your inbox, take the time to mark it as spam instead of simply deleting it.
Create a disposable email address: If you need to distribute your email to sources that will publicly list it, sell it, or are just generally questionable, it’s a good idea to have a disposable email account for this purpose. Basically, this is an email that is only used for spam or subscriptions and not for important or personal emails.
Have a unique email address: As mentioned earlier, many spammers use programs that randomly generate email addresses based on “guess”. These are typically commonly used emails (such as firstname.lastname@example.org). To avoid “guessing” your account, use a combination of letters and numbers and make it as uncommon as possible.
Unsubscribe: When you subscribe to various things on the web, you are often given the option to uncheck an email subscription box. Make a habit of doing this with every signup you make. Also, many online stores, merchants and advertisers will have instructions at the bottom of the emails on how to unsubscribe if you wish. This will help remove your email address from many spam lists.
Hide your identity/email address: Many people become a target for spam because they post to the web, chat, and perform other functions online with their email address visible. When commenting on blog posts, posting in forums, chatting or other public communications, do not publish your email address, use it in a signature, or create a screen name identical to your email address. If you need to tell someone your email address on a public site, use a disposable email address instead of your primary email.