Email spam is the bane of every computer user’s life and is difficult to avoid. However, understanding how spammers get hold of your email address in the first place can help at least minimize the risks. Here then are a number of steps you can take to help protect your email address from spammers:
#1 Use The Bcc Line For Multiple Recipients
All email clients include three options for inserting recipient’s email addresses:
- To: Plainly visible for all to see
- Cc: Also plainly visible for all to see
- Bcc: Not visible to other recipients
If you are sending email to multiple recipients, always use the Bcc line whenever possible. And, if you’re forwarding email that’s been sent to multiple recipients using the To and/or Cc lines, delete all those original email addresses from your forwarded email prior to hitting that Send button. Otherwise, it only needs one of those multiple email addresses to have been compromised to put every recipient at risk.
#2 Don’t Publicize Your Email Address
Spammers and scammers utilize web-crawling “spiders” (or bots) dedicated to seeking out email addresses posted on public platforms. You do not see any sign of these spiders but be assured they are swiftly and incessantly crawling the web looking for tell-tale signs of email addresses, which is often the common “@” symbol.
Do NOT post your email address on any public platforms, such as forums or personal web pages. If you’re in a situation where you must communicate your email address publicly, you should replace the characters commonly found in email addresses with the corresponding words to mitigate the risk. For example; if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org post it as johnsmith21atgmaildotcom.
#3 Do Not Reply To Spam
Spammers are a cunning lot and another common form of collecting email addresses is via “blind dictionary attacks” which utilize a combination of common words with popular domain names to generate millions of email addresses. Even though the vast majority of these computer-generated email addresses are not valid, spammers are prepared to accept a massive bounce rate in order to get their hands on just a handful of genuine email addresses. That’s why it is very important that you do NOT reply to spam. By doing so, you are merely confirming an “active” email address and inviting more spam.
You can mitigate the risks of dictionary attacks by avoiding simple, easy-to-guess email addresses. Unfortunately, it is a fairly common practice among users to choose email addresses that include dictionary words, common first or last names, followed by a string of numbers. Many users are under the impression that adding a string of numbers will help safeguard the email address, it will not. Email addresses such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org are ripe for a dictionary attack.
#4 Use Disposable Email Addresses
If you need to provide an email address to enter a contest for a chance to win some prize you just can’t resist, or to download free software or some other promised freebie, do NOT use your real email address. There are a number of online services that provide disposable email addresses for free and, in most cases, they are very simple to use. Check out SimpleLogin
- Also check out: Anti-Spam: Disposable Email Addresses from Spamgourmet
Privacy: Your privacy is of the utmost importance to us. We value our privacy and will respect yours. We collect only basic information such as first names and email addresses. We will not share, sell, or give your information to any third party, nor will we use your email address for spam.
In the end, it’s nigh on impossible to avoid spam altogether. However, by following the above steps, and encouraging your friends and family to do the same, you can at least limit your exposure and, hopefully, keep much of the spam at bay.
- You might also like: Have You Stopped Answering The Phone?