Email Tips

Avoiding Spam

Spam in Austin is good spam in email is bad. I’ve been seeing a lot about spam these days, which made me think that it’s always a good time for anti-spam reminders for anyone who uses email – which by definition includes this list. Here are some tips and suggestions:

Never reply to a spam message – even if they say “to remove yourself from this list please reply”. Once you reply they know that your address is good and that you read your email. Even if they never email you again – they will often sell your address to another spammer. (Removing yourself through a web site is an even worse idea.)

If you participate in online chats (such as any of the Google Groups) use a separate email account. (You can get a free account at Eudoramail.) Some spammers scan public chat areas for email addresses.

Minimize the number of times you submit your email into an online form. This might be another opportunity to use the free email mentioned above. Read any online agreement carefully before you “agree” or provide an email address. (I once received an email card from a friend that looked legitimate – but when I read through the lengthy process to download the card I realized that it asked me if it was OK to send the same message to all of my email contacts. Luckily I hadn’t just “clicked OK” – my friend wasn’t so lucky, he hadn’t intended to send me the card at all. In fact all of his contact has received the same email as I had.)

Minimize the number of times your email address shows up on the web – especially as a link. Some spammer “harvest” email addresses from web sites. You must balance accessibility with the risk of spam.

If you get a lot of spam, consider setting up an email filter to block suspicious email. (I wrote an earlier Byte on the topic; you can access it here.)

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