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How can I cut down or eliminate spam?

Spam… not the mystery meat spread, we’re talking about the thing we all love to hate: junk e-mail. Almost everyone you know gets spam. Whether it is a lot of spam, or just a little spam, everyone gets spam if you have an e-mail address, right? Wrong. It is possible to receive zero spam. But before we divulge how, we shall talk a little about spam first.

First of all, why do spammers even exist? Well let’s say you owned an advertising firm and you had the opportunity to showcase your products to 100 million people. Would you want to do it? Of course! Now, we see advertising on television, hear it on the radio, and see it on the billboards down I-44. E-mail, a relatively new medium of communication, provides an unimaginably huge market to advertise in. But the problem arises when advertising firms send advertisement e-mails unsolicited, much like a sales person knocking on a door that says “NO SOLICITING.”

Now that we know why we get spam, how do we get spam? It’s simple: they e-mail it to us. “But how did they get our e-mail address? I didn’t give it to them!” Before we blame the cyber spies and “the man”, just how do spammers acquire our e-mail addresses? The possibilities are slim. If your e-mail address is a plain name, you’re in the line of fire. It is almost guaranteed that you will get spam, viruses, or both if your e-mail address is a plain name. That also applies to e-mail addresses that consist of plain words and even common phrases. If that doesn’t apply to you, then this one will. You gave it to them. “What!?” you say? How many hundreds of times have you entered your e-mail address on the internet? Before you put your personal e-mail address in the blank, you might decide if you want to hear from that website or not. If not that way, then how many times does your e-mail address appear in other people’s address books? What does that have to do with spam? It may seem outlandish, but it is possible that some e-mail viruses report back to the originator with all the e-mail address the virus affects then they are sold.

Now that we have covered why spammers are there and how we get spam, what do you do if you already receive spam? You could do one of two things: do nothing and keep getting spam (once it starts, there is no turning back), or change your e-mail address and follow our 4 Steps to Sidestep Spam. Let us summarize our findings about sidestepping spam in 4 easy steps. But before we do, we must remind you that these steps will only work if you are very cautious and observant about your e-mail address. Now tell us those steps!

  1. Your e-mail address should not be anything close to a name or any kind of dictionary word or phrase. A combination letters and numbers that do not resemble a word are best.

  2. You should treat your e-mail address like your social security number: only give it to people or companies you know for sure are credible. Never sign up for giveaways, contests, or anything like that unless you are positive the company is a well-known and credible company.

  3. We recommend multiple e-mail addresses or aliases for certain things (i.e. Family and friends, online shopping/eBay/paypal, newsletters/online periodicals, and junk mail). Using aliases can be very useful. You can have 1 e-mail address and 10 different aliases that all forward messages to your one e-mail address. That way, if one alias gets spam, delete it and create a new one. Also, it is a more efficient way to check your by only checking 1 e-mail address, not multiple addresses.
  4. Never click on the unsubscribe links or even open spam messages. Doing so will confirm that your e-mail address is active, and they will most likely sell your address to other spammers.

These steps are endorsed by both the Office Manager and the Technical Support Manager of FamilyNet. If you have any questions regarding these tips, or if you want to create new e-mail addresses or aliases, then please contact us!

Phone: 918.663.7134

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