How to Minimize Spam


First - let's define spam:

Unsolicited "junk" e-mail sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services. Sexually explicit unsolicited e-mail is called "porn spam." Included in the definition are inappropriate promotional or commercial postings to discussion groups or bulletin boards.  The term spam  is also used to refer to the hoax, 'please forward to everyone', chain letters, etc, some people send to a bunch of people, including friends/family, who have not solicited the emails.  


1.  Guard your in-box. Don't give out your e-mail address to anyone but the people you actually expect to correspond with. For everyone else, see tips 2 and 3.
2.  Use free Web mail accounts. For merchants and others you don't correspond with regularly, use Web mail, such as Hotmail or Yahoo.  You can abandon it if it gets spammed. Many have spam filtering built in.
3. Use fake addresses. Most Web-based sign-up forms require an e-mail address, but ask yourself, do they really need it? If you don't want to hear from the site (and don't need a confirmation e-mail or tech support), don't give a real address.
4. Don't post your address. Resist the impulse to post your address on Web sites, guest books, contact lists, newsgroups, chat rooms, and so on; spammers harvest from these places. If you absolutely must reveal yourself, use a Web-mail account. You can also put something extra in your e-mail that humans will know how to read but harvesting robots won't: could become Gomer AT hello DOT com or
5. Don't answer spam. Ever. You won't stop spam by writing to the spammers, even if you ask nicely. At best, you'll flame a robot, which won't mind. At worst, you'll confirm that your e-mail address belongs to a naive human being—a valuable commodity for spammers. Ignore the "remove me" e-mail addresses, too. Many of these lead to dead or inactive e-mail addresses.
6. Opt out.  When you do sign up for or buy something online and you have to give out an e-mail address, remember to opt out of everything you're not absolutely sure you want to receive. Opt-out = do not sign up for it. Uncheck the box.
7. Read the privacy policy. Make sure you understand what a Web site promises to do (and not to do) with your e-mail address. If there's no privacy policy, see tips 2 & 3.
8. Submit the spam to your ISP.  Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) now have the option which allows you to report spam to them directly.  eg:  or  They will typically request that you 'forward as attachment'  the offending email. 

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Last Update: 11/04/2007 07:04:07 PM