Monday, April 4, 2011
7 Essential Tips on How To Handle Spam
1. Don't click on unsubscribe links.
The most important point to remember when unsubscribing from spam is that if you didn’t originally sign up to receive the mail, or if you don’t recognize the sender or company sending the email, then don’t unsubscribe.
Trying to unsubscribe from one email can start a flood of mail from other sources. So if you are unsure, it is best to block the mail in other ways. When unsubscribing from mail, always check that the links in the mail go to the correct company site and not to a phishing site.
2. Don’t publish your work email address on any web site or discussion forum.
If you have to include your email address, obfuscate it (for example, write it as “myname at mycompany dot com” rather than “firstname.lastname@example.org”), or include it in an image file. This makes harvesting your email address much more difficult.
3. Use a separate email address to sign up for newsletters, online posting, and trade shows. Then, if the mailbox starts receiving an overabundance of spam, you can delete the mailbox or more aggressively filter it.
4. Purchase anti-spam software, which blocks 97 percent to 99 percent of spam to significantly reduce the amount of spam you receive.
5. Don’t unsubscribe immediately.
Copy the messages you want to unsubscribe from to a separate folder. Leave them there for a few weeks, so that you can review them and look for common traits in the messages.
Spammers and unscrupulous companies typically change the information that you could use to block the mail (for example, the sender’s email address) each time they send an email campaign. Keep a collection of mail you want to stop receiving to determine which email addresses or phrases in the messages don’t change and can be used to block further mail.
6. Do not reply to spam.
The McAfee Avert Labs Anti-Spam engineering team maintains a large number of spam traps (email addresses used to attract spammers). We frequently see people getting frustrated and replying to spam.
Answering spam is a waste of time, and it only adds to the amount of unwanted mail that others receive because the spammer will not match the “From” address in the email. It is very easy to forge the sender of an email, as well as include an alternative ”Reply-to” address.
7. Don’t buy anything from spammers.
Because spammers send millions of messages per day, usually using stolen bandwidth, they require only a few people to respond to their spam to make it profitable. If no one bought things from the spammers, they would quickly put a stop to this practice because it would become a waste of time and money for them.