I’m sure most people who have a computer, an internet connection and an email address have experienced spam emails arriving by the bucket load daily. For those of us with a lot of email address (I have 17 at the minute!) or for those who have their addresses displayed in public on their own websites or social networking websites like Bebo, MySpace and the link then the problem is exponential.Firstly, if you don’t have any protection at all against spam and you have a few email addresses all displayed publicly and for a year or 2 then you are probably getting a ridiculous amount of spam – hundreds of emails a day probably and if you have a slow internet connection then you have to wait for all of these to download before you can sift through them to find the odd legitimate email from a client or friend. Obviously this can become very time consuming and very annoying and if you’re in business the time loss will cost you money.
But what is spam? Spam is basically any email that is sent to you that is unsolicited or unasked for unless its from a friend or business acquaintance. They can be either from local small businesses who are just looking for some work or networking up to automated emails sent by the dozen by spam bots or viruses embedded on other peoples computers without their knowledge. Typically the content of the later will be rude, offensive, pornographic, medicinal, software related or even an elaborate hoax designed to rob you financially or submit your passwords to fake sites ‘phishing’. If you are not interested in cheap illegal software, porn or viagra then you wont want these email coming through so how do you stop it!?
Its a question which has troubled many software programmers, anti-virus writers and simple email users for years now and sometimes it feels like we can’t win! Recent statistics suggest that the amount of emails that are sent globally contain about 80% spam. So the most important thing to remember is that it is practically impossible to actually block spam altogether, no matter what you do you will still get a few in daily. Heres a few tips however on to reduce the amount of it coming through.
- Contact whoever provides your email address, eg your phone company, your website host, etc and ask if they have spam filters they could set up for you or modify to look closer at mail coming through. This is probably the best way to block spam because it blocks it at source and it never gets to your pc however if it blocks legitimate emails which may happen then you’ll never know!
- If you use an email client like Outlook Express you can block the senders of spam so you wont receive any emails from them again but spam comes from all directions and you may find yourself doing this constantly.
- You can setup filters in your own email program and basically tell the program to block emails whose subject line or body contains certain, common spam keywords such as ‘viagra’, ‘levitra’, etc..
- You can invest in a dedicated anti-virus/spam package that will monitor your emails for you and use sophisticated means to detect all kinds of spam and delete it (and block it) for you.
- Try one of the many FREE spam blocker plugins for your email client. A good one is Bullguard available HERE.
- Get yourself a Gmail email account as they seem to be quite good at blocking spam!
- Try using instant messaging programs like Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger or Skype instead of email. You can communicate quicker, send files or even talk in real time with webcam – everything email can do only faster and better and with less spam (for the time being!).
More opinions on the whole issue of spam can be found here – http://www.leitrimbusinessnetwork.com/2008/01/23/dealing-with-spam-email/