How To Avoid Spam & Junk Mail

In this article we are going to cover some of the basic steps that you can take to reduce the amount of spam that you get in your email inbox. Spam is any unsolicited and usually commercial junk mail. The spammer uses unconventional and unethical methods to procure peoples email addresses, so naturally the source of all that junk mail cannot be trusted unless you know that you signed up for it. Knowing how these spammers end up with your email address is the first step to knowing how to avoid spam.

How spammers get your email address:

Chain Emails:
Because most of us are good natured people that want to spread a little cheer, or show our support for what seems to be a good cause, we are often unaware of the consequences of chain emails and forwards. Appealing to our emotions, the spammer tricks people into forwarding his/her message to your friends, including forwarding back to the spammer in the process. Once the email is forwarded back to the spammer, he or she will have the chance to “harvest” email addresses each time someone blindly forwards that email. That is the real intention behind most chain emails, unless they are from a reputable source. So, it pays to be aware of this little trick in order to avoid getting spam and unknowingly violating the privacy of your friends and family by making their emails available to spammers. If you receive a chain letter that asks you to forward it to your friends including the sender, it’s best to ignore and delete that email. If you got the email from your friend or family member and you notice that your email address is exposed, kindly ask them to use the BCC instead of the CC feature when forwarding emails to you in the future. Using the BCC feature is one of the simplest ways to help stop spam.

Website Sign Ups:
Have you ever signed up on some website for free stuff and ended up getting a whole bunch of spam emails from other sites trying to market their stuff? There is nothing wrong with signing up for free stuff; however, if you are not too fond of spam, you may want to read the privacy policy of that website before you sign up. Some websites exist only to make money by promoting the services of their affiliated third parties. Unless they specify in their privacy policy that your email address and personal information will not be shared with any third party, you may find yourself soon being bombarded by spam emails. Even if you click the link to unsubscribe you may still keep getting spam. I had one instance when the spammer emailed me back saying, “don’t claim that we are spamming you, you signed up.” I couldn’t imagine the audacity! Needless to say, I had to close off that email account. So, unless you know for sure that the website you are planning on signing up with is going to respect your privacy, I do not recommend signing up. Do not enter your email address on any form online, unless you know what it really means. Spam can make your inbox unusable and give you extra work by having to sort out the important mail from the junk mail. So the best way to avoid getting junk mail is to make your email address hard to get. It’s best to use an alternate email address rather than your main one to sign up for stuff.

Contact Email:
Some business websites post the email of their contact person right in the open. This is not advisable as you can imagine why. Some spammers use software that is specifically designed to search through websites and harvest such exposed email addresses. Once that email address is in the hands of the spammer, it is then used for other purposes than what it is intended for in the first place. So it’s better to use a contact form that does not expose your email address and has a human validation process built into it to avoid getting automated junk mail. Your web developer should be able to help you to get that set up; if they can’t, we can help you get that set up. Besides being annoying, spam and all other junk mail can reduce the efficiency of a business by adding unnecessary trash that has to be filtered through. It helps to use some spam filters, but I have not yet found one that blocks everything.
In summary, the best way to avoid getting spam is to make it hard for spammers to get your email address. It’s good practice to use the BCC when forwarding emails and to read the privacy policy of any website before signing up for anything, and use a contact form on your website instead of leaving your email address exposed. If you are already getting a lot of junk mail in your inbox, get all of your contacts and important emails out of that email account and start fresh. Send your new email address only to those who need to know. Lastly, be proactive in reducing spam by educating them on how to avoid spam or by referring others to read this article. All your work will pay off in the form of an inbox that you’ll enjoy visiting.