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SPAM -- Unsolicited Commercial Email:
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by unsolicited commercial email, here are some useful tips for avoiding, filtering and responding to spam:
- Avoid posting your email address on public message boards and newsgroups. Spammers run programs that 'harvest' email addresses from these sources. While many online forums are designed so that email addresses are not exposed, this is a precaution that you still might opt to use.
- Create a 'secondary dummy' email account for public posting. If you find that you enjoy posting to public forums, create a new email address just for this purpose. Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo!, etc. are all free and the accounts are easy to close once it starts attracting too much junk -- allowing you to simply create another 'dummy' email account.
- Just hit delete.
If you're only getting a few spam messages a day, the best solution is probably to just chill out and hit delete. Yes, it's annoying. And no, it's not right. But it's just not worth the effort to banish spam unless it's really impacting your ability to use email effectively.
- Use built-in spam filters in your email program.
Many email programs have built-in routines for identifying suspected spam.
- Use third-party spam-killing software.
If spam is really hitting you hard, there are third-party software products that can "pre-download" your e-mail, attempt to identify spam, and then let you download only your "clean" mail.
Responding to Spam:
- DON'T follow "remove me" instructions.
While reputable emailers will offer you a way to get off their lists, spammers just use their "remove me" instructions to validate your email address, thus paving the way for even more spam. No matter how much spam annoys you, don't bother responding -- it just makes the problem worse.
- DO report spam.
Spamming is against the rules and against the law. You can help stop spam by reporting spam to the appropriate authorities. One of the easiest ways to do this to use the spam reporting services at SpamCop.net.