Practical advises to protect yourself from spam
- Choose your username.
When choosing new email address try not to use simple, easy guessable usernames like john, cat, luis, staff etc. Diversify.
- Manage the address intelligently.
If you have a fresh email address spammers don't know about try to manage it intelligently from the very beginning. If you don't want spam on this address then do not give it on registration forms on suspicious sites and don't publish it on web sites.
- Use several addresses.
Have different email addresses for different purposes. For example, one for your friends and work (you may want to have business email address different from one you give to your friends), another one for your web page, yet another one for registering to free services on the web sites. Particular attention should be paid to email addresses for your web site and to those for registering to free services on the web.
- Use disposable addresses.
Use temporary email addresses when subscribing to mailing lists. You can use an alias to your main email address when subscribing to particular emailing list. After unsubsribing from that list or if you began seeing spam sent to that address you can simply delete the alias.
- Don't publish address on the web.
Be careful when publishing email address on a web site. There are robots that search for email addresses on the web pages. If the address have to be published on a web site then you can use the following trick to protect it from automatic finding by robots: include your address in an image file (png, gif, jpeg). Robots can't read images. Also you can use mailing forms on site instead of giving your email address.
- Do not "unsubscribe" from spam mailing lists.
If you know for sure that a particular message is spam then do not try to unsubscribe from it by clicking on "unsubscribe" links. By clicking on links or buttons you are informing the spammer there is a real person reading his spam messages. Even if your email address will be unsubscribed from that particular mailing list (unlikely event) it will be subscribed without your notice to other lists.
- Use text mode to read email.
Try to not open spam messages at all. Message containing HTML code may have links accessing some items from a remote site. Opening such a message will inform the spammer controlling that site you have open his message. If you have an IMAP or webmail account select the message and delete it without opening. In case of a POP3 account install a message notifier that enables you to preview some basic information about email messages in your account (usually from address, subject, date, size and may be attachment names). A decent POP3 notifier will permit you to delete unwanted messages directly on the server. After that you can read the account normally. One quite good pop3 notifier is
POP Peeper. If you have shell access to the mail server you can view your mail box with a simple non-mime client to view messages and delete junk.
- Use off-line mode to read email.
If reading POP3 or IMAP account with Netscape or Mozilla prior to opening a message set the client to off-line mode.
- Return receipts selectively.
Do not choose to automatically return receipts when you read email and if you know message is spam certainly don't give a receipt.
- Use antispam filters
If you have shell access to the mail server you can create rules to filter spam, for example, using
procmail. In case you have no shell access to the server you may write rules to filter email messages in your email client. In Netscape you can easily define rules to automatically filter incoming messages (move them to folders, change priority, delete etc.) according to message
cc or other fields or even on matching certain words or phrases in message body.