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How to Reduce Spam to Your Email Accounts

Here are the top 10 tips to help reduce spam arriving in your email accounts.

1. Never write your email address on your website on any other website. In a recent study conducted by The Center for Democracy and Technology, 260 test email addresses were created as bait for spammers, and used in various ways known to attract spam. The study found that posting an email address on a public site attracted the most unwanted e-mail – five times as much as for any other reason. Instead, use a form, possibly with a captcha so spam harvesters cannot pick up on your address as easily. You can even go as far as writing your email on an image rather than site text.

2. Dedicate just one email address for website communications, This should be the only address exposed to possible spam. At least you’ll keep any admin or personal accounts free from being exposed. Your website email address can then ocassionally be altered if it's hidden behind a form. Just make sure you always reply from your hidden address so only customers have it.

3. If you visit forums, register yourself on directories etc, don’t use your main or hidden email address. Use either an alias, or if an email address is required, dedicate one address, just like with your website.

4. Do you ever receive spam with instructions of how to unsubscribe? If you follow the instructions for unsubscribing, this will only confirm that you received their email and your email address works (and this leads to more Spam). Also, many times the unsubscribe function doesn’t work because the Spam perpetrators already closed down and moved.

5. Turn off your auto preview pane on your email client (such as Outlook’s preview pane). By previewing an email you are actually “opening” it, and this can tip off the sender that your email address works. There is also the possibility of a virus infecting your computer if you preview an email, especially if you open an attachement.

6. Configure your mail client to filter SPAM into a junk or spam folder. Outlook has a built-in junk email filter and rules can be added to look for telltale signs of spam such as email that is not sent To: or CC: your email address.

7. Try to avoid common email addresses starting with admin, support, info, billing, sales and orders. These are common default targets for any email from a domain on the web. If a spammer can see your domain then they will instantly try sending spam to those addresses. I suggest being a little creative without making it hard to remember. e.g. email@, contact@ etc . You should also avoid using single names such as bob@ and simon@

8. If you are receiving a huge amount of Spam, you may need to consider changing your email address. In particular, Hotmail and Yahoo addresses receive a huge amount of Spam because it’s easy to guess at variations of common addresses. Acquiring your own domain name, creating a new email address, not publishing it on the web, and not using it for web and product registrations should result in much fewer Spam emails.

9. Turn off "catch all" on your email accounts, this just invites any spam ending with your domain to arrive in your account e.g.fdsf@mydomain.com

10. Always review the privacy policies of Web sites. Make sure if you're signing up as a member that they state your email address will not be used for any marketing purposes or supplied to third parties.

Unfortunately spam is a never ending battle with evolving technologies, however use these tips diligently and you're well on your way to a near empty mail account!

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