How to Avoid Spam Online

Spam can be exceptionally annoying and difficult to deal with and many people fail to understand how their online activities jeopardize privacy.

Do you receive a lot of spam? Receiving obvious spam in your inbox can be annoying, but it is usually simple to delete it. The real problem is the scam that isn’t so obvious. This unsolicited email can be dangerous for a number of reasons including:

  • It may be part of a phishing scam designed to trick you out of money or steal your identity.

  • It could contain malicious software.

  • It could contain a link that directs you to a website where your computer will become infected.

  • It could contain misleading information that convinces you to make poor choices.

Phishing Scams

One of the most dangerous types of spam involves phishing emails. This is an attempt to get you to provide personal details or hand over some money. A common example of this would be an email that appears to be from your bank and tries to panic you into logging into your account.

You will be asked to use the link in the email which will take you to a fake online banking login area. Instead of logging into your bank, you will actually be supplying your password and other details to the criminals. This type of email can be very convincing, and it is a type of online crime that is on the rise.

The following tips and ideas will help you have fun online without having to deal with dozens of spam messages.

Use Several Emails

Spammers use emails published online to add to their mailing lists. Unfortunately, businesses and organizations have to provide their contact information.

Using a personal and a professional email is an easy and efficient way to avoid spam online. The professional email will be provided on the company’s website and the personal email will remain safe and private.

It is also a good idea to present emails in text rather than with active links – for example, yourname(at)website.com.

Refrain from Posting Your Email Online

The email should never be included in forum postings, website comments or blog articles. Keeping it private is one of the most efficient ways of avoiding spam.

According to some professionals, more than 90 percent of the spam results from the public disclosure of the email address. Automatic scripts are used to detect such information and to begin delivering spam to the recipient address.

If you absolutely have to provide your email, write it in text form, which will disable the automatic creation of a link.

Know Which Websites to Avoid

Certain websites, applications and programs should be avoided.

Spam bots scan popular websites for email information. News groups and chat rooms are the most common targets. Staying away from these will ensure the privacy of your contact information.

Use Anti-Spam Programs and Filters

Sometimes, you will have to list your email online and you will have to participate in groups or forums. This is when you will have to consider the usage of effective spam filters and anti-spam programs.

This type of software is the last line of defense. It is the only thing that will keep the spam messages away from your inbox. Most web-based email service providers offer some kind of defense but very often, the filters are inefficient and easy to cheat by spam messages.

Always report spam to increase the efficiency of the built-in filter. Numerous plugins are available, as well. You will simply have to download those and install them through the email platform of your preference.

Finally, introduce harsh limits and receive solely messages from the people included in your address book. This adjustment, however, is quite aggressive and you may miss an important mail that was accidentally delivered to the junk folder.

Unsubscribe Yourself from Old Mailing Lists

Many people refrain from unsubscribing from old mailing lists. They simply ignore such messages but the mistake is a major one.

Unsubscribe yourself from old mailing lists every now and then. It will be impossible to keep spam under control, in case you are unwilling to protect your contact information. The procedure will take only a couple of minutes and it will deliver excellent results.

More Ways to Protect Yourself against Spam

Here are a few more ideas for how you can protect yourself from spam emails:

  • Never just automatically click on any link in an email. Make sure you know where it is taking you to first – you can reveal the destination of the link by hovering over it with your mouse.

  • Avoid opening any attachments in an email unless you are certain about what it contains. Attachments are often used by criminals to introduced malware.

  • Use the filter options on your email account to automatically send most spam email to the junk folder.

  • One of the key things you will want to do in order to protect yourself against spam is to install quality anti-virus software. Some of these products have features which help protect specifically against spam.

  • If you get an odd email from friends or family asking for money, make sure that it is actually from them. It could be that their email account has been hacked.

  • It is a bad idea to reply to spam email. It just puts you on the criminal’s radar because these people will now know that it is a functional address.

  • It is a good idea to have two email accounts. You can use one of these for friends and family and one for signing up to things online.

  • If you want to become a member of an online community, you will usually be asked to provide your email address. There may also be a tiny box that you need to tick in order to get (or not to get) an email newsletter – it is usually best to say no to the newsletter if you are serious about reducing spam.

 

  About Rick Broida  

 A technology writer for over 25 years, Rick Broida is a regular  
 contributor to CNET, eHow, Wired, Time, and other outlets,  
 and has written thousands of product reviews, technology features, 
 how-to guides, and He’s the author of “The Cheapskate Rules: 
 21 Easy Money-Saving Tech Secrets” 
  blog posts. and over a dozen other books. His most recent venture:  
 the room-escape adventure “Trapped in a Room with a Zombie,” 
 now playing in Detroit, MI. 

 

 

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