Twenty years ago, most people thought of canned meat when someone mentioned spam, but today, most would immediately think of junk emails. That’s because millions of spam emails are sent around the world every day. In fact, experts estimate that spam emails currently account for more than half of all daily emails.
While these junk emails are certainly annoying, they also represent a real danger to individuals and businesses. Even those who know not to download attachments from unknown senders and not to click links in strange emails may accidentally do so, especially as spammers get better and better at making their messages look legitimate. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to deal with spam.
Use a Whitelist
If you really want to block all emails except those from people you know, you can set up a whitelist. You will only receive emails from the addresses you’ve put on this list. This is perhaps the strongest form of spam protection, but it also presents a problem: if you receive legitimate emails from people who aren’t on your whitelist, they will be sent to your junk email and you may never see them. Even if you go through the spam folder, it might be so full that you overlook an email you need.
Use a Filter
Similar to using a whitelist but less restrictive, spam filtering can help cut down on the amount of junk email you see in your inbox. Most people consider it a better option for spam control, because it catches a large amount of junk email but allows most legitimate messages through. Most of the filters are designed to identify spam emails and block them automatically, but you can also manually tell the filter that an email address or all addresses from a single domain are spam. Like using a whitelist, you should periodically check the spam folder to make certain it hasn’t accidentally caught valid emails.
Disguise Your Email
Many spammers get your information by scraping websites using an automated programme that scans the text of a webpage looking for anything identifiable as an email address. Any text that includes the ‘at’ symbol with a period shortly thereafter is copied over into a database. If your website team replaces that symbol with the actual word, it makes it almost impossible for automated scrapers to find your email. For example, changing ‘[email protected]’ to ‘jsmith (at) abc.com’ will confuse these automated systems and help decrease the amount of spam you get.
This may seem like common sense, but never reply to a spam email, even if it instructs you to reply and you’ll be removed from the list. This is a trick spammers use to determine if your email address is live or if it’s an unmonitored inbox. They may then put your email into a special programme that allows them to send emails that look like they came from your address. When it comes to spam, it’s best to simply mark it as junk mail and move on, rather than try to confront spammers.