We all know that feeling when you open your inbox only to be greeted by a cascade of email spam. It just grows and grows seemingly without end! Fear not: there are a few things you can do to minimise spam and declutter your internet experience.
Don’t include your email address on your website
If you have a website or blog of your own, don’t include your email address as it can be picked up by spambots trawling the web. Best practise is to use a web contact form which most simple web templates will include for you at the click of a button.
Use a spare email account for general online registrations
When entering competitions or signing up for offers online, you are vulnerable to having your email address used to send spam. Set up a disposable email account that you can use for these purposes to avoid clogging up your main inbox with email spam.
If you really do need to leave your primary contact email address somewhere online, make sure you disguise it so that spambots will not pick it up. The format ‘your dot name at email dot com’ will often be enough to evade the bots.
Never respond to spam
As tempting as it is, replying to spam or even clicking on the unsubscribe link in the email is enough to signal that your account is active and this will most likely just result in more spam being sent your way, so hold back!
Check sender address
You may receive an email that appears to be from your bank, or the tax office, or some well known public institution that you trust, but look carefully. Check the sender’s email address. Your.firstname.lastname@example.org is unlikely to be the email address of a global finance institution!
Only click trusted links
However tempting the prizes on offer, we recommend you abstain from clicking any links in emails which do not come from trusted sources. At best you will unleash a barrage of pop-up windows, at worst contract a nasty virus or compromise your personal data.
Watch out for dodgy spelling
Another giveaway sign of a spam email is poor spelling. Most professional businesses will employ copywriters to create and proofread marketing materials and, although the occasional typo might get through, consistent or glaring spelling and grammar mistakes signal a potential spam email in most cases.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
Another clue that the email you are looking at is likely to be spam is that it is offering you huge amounts of free money merchandise or announcing you as the winner of a competition you have never entered/heir to a massive fortune in a foreign land. In almost all of these cases this is unlikely to be true, and more likely to be a lure to get you to click or send information to the spammers – resist!
Only download trusted attachments
If an email comes from an unknown source and is urging you to download a file attached to it, please stop and think. Investigate further. The likelihood of this scenario is that it is a file which could harm your computer or compromise your data.
Block and report
The right thing to do with spam is to block it and report it through your email provider. This way you won’t receive any further mail from them and they will be blacklisted to help other users.