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Home > Outlook & Email Tips > How to prevent receiving spam
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How to prevent receiving spam

dots How spammers grab addresses

Basically, spammers will start sending you junk email as soon as:

  • you list your email address on a public web page (your web site, forums, etc);
  • you subscribe to various newsletters and you confirm to their agreement without reading it (for example, you confirm to receive promotional emails);
  • you received an email from someone who you don't know and you open the message. If the email message is using the HTML format, once you view the email, the spammer will know for sure that your email account is real and so he will keep sending you junk emails;
  • your browser security level is set to accept various cookies and controls, or simply you manually agreed to deploy/install such files.
  • you clicked on a link or attachment from an incoming email message, although you didn't know who the sender was.
  • you don't permanently use an anti-virus program.

    dots 13 rules on how to avoid getting your mail account on spam lists

    Theoretically it's simple: just don't do the above actions and you will stay away from spam. Practically, it isn't so easy. You need to communicate with people, after all this is why you got an email address. So you want to use it, not to hide it.

    Here are our rules and advices on how to avoid receiving spam

  • Get yourself at least two email accounts. Use one for public communications (forums, communities, business cards) and keep the other one only for trusted contacts. Use only the public one for registering for Internet services/accounts. Indeed, you will still get spam, but this way at least you have a clean account.
  • If you have to list your email account on public pages, try to cheat spam spiders. Instead of writing your address as "", write it as "john_at_domain_dot_com". People will understand how to read it, but robots will not. As an alternative, you can make a transparent image with your email address and instead of writing it on a web page, just link the image to it.
  • Read Terms & Conditions pages. Whenever you have to subscribe to a newsletter or to create a web account on a site, make sure their Terms & Conditions page doesn't give them the right to send you unsolicited emails. Do not select to receive promotional offers by email.
  • If your email client can do it, then make it to receive and display incoming emails as plain text, not as HTML.
  • When receiving a spam mail, do not attempt to unsubscribe. If you didn't subscribed, then why unsubscribing? Most of spammers are using it to validate your email address, for further spamming purposes. It's simple: if you unsubscribe, it means your email address exists and someone (you) is reading the emails.
  • Do not use auto-responders: an auto-responder is a clear signal for the spammer that the junk mail arrived at a real email address, which gives him a "good" reason to keep sending spam.
  • If you email client is able to do it, then use auto-preview functions and erase junk email before you download it on your computer.
  • Do not click/open links, images or attachments coming from not trusted sources.
  • Do not confirm or trust applets, plug-ins or ActiveX components not signed or signed with invalid certificates.
  • Set your browser security so it doesn't accept 3rd party cookies (at least the Medium level on Internet Explorer).
  • Use live updates: update your operating system, Internet browser and email client software as often as possible. Spammers, as viruses, often take advantage of your security holes.
  • Use an anti-virus program and check for updates daily. Spammers and worm viruses go hand in hand.
  • Report spam: no, it will not stop spam, but you will help the experts on making better software. Reporting spam will make you feel better.

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