How to stop spam

Provided by the Good News Web Designers Association

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Spam is every bit as unwelcome as circulars in your post box or telemarketers who call at meal times. Fortunately there are ways to decrease or eliminate the amount of spam you receive in your daily email.

The following are straight forward tips to help you overcome or prevent spam and viruses in your email.

1. Be private. Do not give out your email address in the first place. In many instances if you are required to give your email address in order to receive something off a website, give an email address that you have set up specifically to receive junk. Some people then choose "nospam@----" for their private address.

2. You can also set up a fake email address at such places as or; these email accounts are free.

3. Look for options to opt out of receiving promotional mailings when you have to give your address.

4. Preview all email by reading their subject lines before opening the mail. If you're using an email program, such as Outlook, use the "View" menu to set the "Layout" to show only the subject lines, so you can select what you want to delete without opening the mail. Treat every email you preview as being of a suspicious nature. Many harmless-looking emails with attachments may contain viruses. Many people succumbed to the "I love you" email that contained a virus.

5. When you receive a forwarded email asking for help or money from someone, and in return you will have eternal good luck (or bad luck if you don't forward it), do not forward it on. It is likely to be a hoax and is a great way for spammers to cultivate email addresses. Many virus warning emails are a hoax as well. You should research virus warnings before telling your friends about it so you don't spread the hoax to them. (Research only takes a minute; see "Viruses, Legends & Lies")

6. When forwarding emails to groups of people, send them via the BCC field; this shields their address from others. Ask others to send emails to you this way, too.

7. Use the filters function, if your email program or service provides them, to filter out unwanted emails that do or do not meet certain criteria.

8. Keep your name off mailing lists, chat rooms and newsgroups by not giving out your correct address in the first place. (The ones used by the Good News Web Designers Association keep your email address confidential.)

9. If your email address is on a website, ask your web designer to transform it in to a picture or change the @ sign to @ so that it's not recognized by the 'robots' that come to steal email addresses for mailing lists.

10. Many spam messages have instructions at the bottom of the message asking you to reply to the message if you want to be removed from their mailing list. Don't do this, as it will only confirm that your address is valid and active and you will most likely be hit with more spam. Use a program such as Mail Washer Pro to bounce the message back to the spammer so it looks as though your address is not valid.

11. Check the email address of the sender: Do you recognize it? If not, with Mail Washer you can see a preview of the email.

12. Watch out for fake headers. These are in the subject line and are commonly "Dear Friend....." or "Here's the information you requested."

13. Never buy anything from a spammer's email, even if it is something you want, as it is likely to be fraudulent.

14. You can complain to the spammers internet service provider by sending an email to abuse@ [the domain] or postmaster@ [the domain].

15. Don't reply to contests in your email or offers of free websites, nor send money to anti-spam organizations, as they are most likely hoaxes.

16. Don't submit your address to Opt-out or removal lists, as these are a hoax and you will end up getting more spam.

17. Be sure to have antivirus software installed on your computer. While you may be able to recognize an email with a strange attachment without opening it, a picture or Word document may harbor also a virus. (See "Protect Your Computer from Viruses & Spies")

18. Use Mail Washer to delete any unwanted emails directly off your Internet service provider's server before you receive them into your computer. Mail Washer is a product that I personally recommend, as founder of the Good News Web Designers Association, without compensation, because of its excellence. You can download it for free; this version includes a scrolling message that asks you to register for as low as $3, or $20 for full services and no scrolling message. $20 is a very low price, and it's worth much more for the great benefit it provides. With Mail Washer, you can preview all the mail in all your mailboxes at one time, then weed out the spam and viruses with one click of a button. It's very user-friendly, very configurable for whatever your preferences might be, and a big time-saver.


1. Theft of resources: The amount of time it takes to filter out unwanted email from legitimate email stops you doing other productive things.

2. The receiver pays: You pay for receiving spam, through your online charges and time.

3. You never asked for it: It is an invasion of your privacy.

4. It's garbage.

5. The offerings are most probably fraudulent or illegal.



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