SEE MORE TIPS


  Solution:  How Do I Stop Spam E-mail?

Go a step beyond filters and the "unsubscribe lists" to block spam.  This isn't about complaining or legislation.  This is a method to stop spam from coming to your private e-mail address.   I don't know of anyone who likes to receive e-mail from from all of those unsolicited marketers, get rich quick, and scam artists.  If you really want to stop junk mail from your coming to your inbox, take a look at this method.  Here's how to eliminate  the flow of junk e-mail to your personal e-mail account.   
   
I've been online for a long time.  My e-mail addresses were floating around for years, and I reached the point that I was receiving 10 to 50 junk e-mails every day!  I tried filters and "junk lists" in my e-mail program to stop it.  It doesn't work.  New spam from a different source kept coming.  Finally, one day I snapped.   I went on a mission to stop spam in my daily life.  It worked.  Here's how I did it.  Even if you don't do everything I've done, you can still put a serious dent in the amount of spam coming to your mailbox by following these tips:
 
Setup a SPAM magnet e-mail account.  Junk e-mailers want to send you e-mail.  They love to send you e-mail.  They go to great lengths to force it down your throat.  Fine.  Give them a place to send it.  Setup a free e-mail account at any of the many free e-mail access websites.  Personally, I prefer www.hotmail.com for this "spam magnet" account for several reasons:  1) Because they are notorious for allowing spammers to operate.  Use it to your advantage.  2)  The account works in-hand with Microsoft's Passport scheme.  Like most things from Microsoft, you'll probably end up having to use, or needing it at some point, anyway.   3)  You can set hotmail to automatically dump all the unread (junk) mail every week.  Just go into the account once every month or so to keep it active. 

I go one step further.  I set the option to always delete all mail unless the sender is in my hotmail address book.  I never add anyone to my address book.  The only one who can send me messages is the hotmail administrative staff.

This is the address to give out.  Use it when every you have to enter a valid e-mail address for a vendor, but you know you never what to receive anything from them.  If they sell your address to a million spammers -- you don't care!  You'll never see it!

 
Setup an exception e-mail account.  There's a catch.  A lot of times, you need to give your email address online and you need to receive a response.  For example, if you order a piece of software, or try a demo program, the vendor many times needs to e-mail you a registration key.  Or, if you're shipping something, you may want to receive a notice.  Or, you submit a technical support question on a form, and you need to get the reply.  There are valid exceptions.  Don't give out your private, personal e-mail account.  Setup a free e-mail account at one of the many free e-mail access websites.  Personally, I prefer www.yahoo.com for this "exception" account for several reasons.  1)  Yahoo! has a great spam blocking system, so even if the address is abused by spammers, almost all spam messages automatically go into a separate "bulk e-mail" junk folder.  2)  Yahoo! e-mail allows you to block mail from any individual sender simply by clicking on a "Block Address" link at the top of any message.

Use this e-mail address for everything else.

 
Never give out your private "real" e-mail address.  This one is important.  NEVER.  Don't write it down on a piece of paper, don't enter it into a screen, don't sign a guestbook using it, don't even give it to your mother or your best friend.  Instead, give out your "exception" e-mail address.  Then once communication is started, send a message to their e-mail address from your private "real" email program and let them reply directly to it.  Encourage them to remember and use your exception address unless they are replying directly to you in an e-mail.  Why?  If your friend, mother, or "dear aunt Piddy" sends you something online (like an electronic greeting card, or a fowarded "Joke" e-mail that is copied to a dozen people) you're going to get picked up, and put a spam list.  It's better that it is sent to your "exception" account.
 
This works!  I can't remember the last time I received a spam e-mail in my "real" e-mail program.  Yet, I daily receive e-mail from friends, family, co-workers, and even some vendors that I communicate with.  My "real" e-mail inbox works exactly as I think we all wish ours did.  Once a week (or two, or three) I check my "exception" account.  (I also check it more often if I'm waiting for a specific response).  In truth, this method worked out better than I thought when I first went on my mission to eliminate spam from my inbox.
 
What if I'm already receiving tons of spam at my "real" address?  You can use all the advice on the page, and eventually the amount of spam will decrease.  However, if you really want to stop the spam, the only way is to change your "real" address.  Delete your current account and start over.  Yes, it's painful, but it's probably the only way to stop the spam quickly.
 
Other Related Tips and Issues:
 
Uncheck all "can we notify you" type options on web forms.  When you do have to enter information using your "magnet" or "exception" e-mail address, still uncheck any notification options.  This is common on web forms, software registration, and other times when your name, address, and e-mail are used.  Be sure to watch out for tricky scams like "Check this box not to receive offers from us".
 
Unsubscribe or Opt-Out.   Here's where I disagree with the "experts".  I've found that the majority of unsubscribe and "opt-out" of e-mail list options are legitimate.  My rule is simple:  If the unsubscribe process is a straight forward, use it.  For example: Reply and enter "Unsubscribe" as the subject or message -- or a "simple click here to unsubscribe". 

On the other hand, if the unsubscribe option requires me to do anything else (like go to a web page and enter information, or type in my e-mail address in a box) I don't do it.  Regardless, remember to never use your "real address", even to "opt-out".
 
Don't post any of your e-mails addresses on-line unless necessary.  Even with your "magnet" and "exception" accounts, don't needlessly spread your e-mail address where it will be picked up and spammed.  For example, entering your e-mail address on someone's webpage guestbook will get you spammed.  Why?  Because spammers and the people that sell them your address troll the Internet, scanning web pages for e-mail address -- any e-mail address. 

For this reason, if you have a web page, don't use a direct EMAIL ME button or link.  Instead, use a form or guestbook (like the free one at http://htmlgear.lycos.com).  To see an example, you may look at my e-mail form or check out my guestbook.  In either case, there's no way to see my "real" or "exception" e-mail addresses.  Another neat trick is to put information in a graphic, and display the graphic containing personal information (i.e. with your name, address, and "exception" e-mail address).

 
What about rejects of "free accounts" as a valid address?  Sometimes, you'll find a company that won't let you enter a valid free e-mail address.  They demand to have your "real e-mail address".  Danger!  While these companies claim to be doing this to "protect you", careful examination of their practices or privacy policy usually reveals they're selling your personal information.  Don't fall for this.  Ask them what they do for people that don't have a computer or e-mail address.  Don't give them your real e-mail account under any circumstance.  If they won't relent, and you simply must deal with them, there are a couple of alternatives:  1)  Give them some other real e-mail like one from your workplace.  2)  Setup a domain and e-mail forwarding.  This sounds complicated, but it's really not.  You can purchase a domain name with free forwarding for just a few bucks.  Cheap domain registration sites (like inexpensivedomains.com  can do this for $10 to $20 (or less).  The "big" players like Yahoo! Domains will charge two to three times as much.  Either way works.   With your "real domain" and e-mail forwarding, you can give them a "real domain" e-mail address that goes to your magnet or exception e-mail account.  I do it all the time.
 
Never "just hang up" on a telemarketer.  Ok. This isn't about e-mail spam, but it lives in the same bad neighborhood, doesn't it?  When telemarketers call, be abrupt, (rude if necessary).  IMMEDIATELY ask "From what company are you calling".  If they don't respond, repeat it without saying anything else.  By law, they must tell you.  Next, immediately say "Put this number on your don't call list.".  Then hang up.  By law, they have to remove you from calling lists.  If you have the same company repeat calling, you can actually charge them money.  I've only had a few "repeaters".  Whenever I inform a "repeater" that I'm going to make a record of the call and charge them for next call, they never call again!
 
Never respond to questions from a telemarketer.  Be rude.  Stick to the above script.  Once you get "put this number on your don't call list" out, hang up if  necessary.  Do NOT engage in any conversation.  Do not respond in any way to their statements like "Yes sir, we'll remove you from our calling list.  This may take a few weeks to take place, is this all right?"

DON'T ANSWER.

Why?  There have actually been scumbag marketers that have recorded a person's voice saying "Yes" and used it as authorization to charge, send goods, or change service providers (like your long distance company).  Instead of responding to any question simply say:

"Then as soon as possible, put this number on your don't call list."

and hang up.  Simply put, you do not have answer their questions.  None!  They do have to answer yours, particular those under the Consumer Protection Act.  Keep that in mind the next time you get an annoying "spam phone call".

 
Go to JunkbustersJunkbusters.com can help you deal with spam, junk mail and telemarketers.  They have lots of good advice and forms you can mail to direct marketing companies to greatly reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.  One caution, I've tried, and don't personally recommend using their "Guidescope" program for removing ad banners from web pages.
 


SEE MORE TIPS


 

Copyright 1995-2005, Keith Turbyfill.  All rights reserved.