If you are like me, you are amazed how spam still exists. After over 20 years somehow we cannot find a way to stop spammers without blocking real email. I believe the solution is simple really, there needs to be a central database that every email needs to be registered with. Until then we will just have to stick to old school methods like hiding your email from the public eye and some other tricks. So here we go, these are the best ways as of now to stop spam from your email inbox.
1. Use the spam blocker in your email program. Email programs like Thunderbird and Live Mail have pretty good spam blockers built in. The trick is to enable it and then start marking spam as it comes in. This will help your program identify spam and filter it in the future.
2. Use disposable email addresses. I have a couple emails I have had since the beginning of time but for email lists and things that might lead to spam I use disposable ones. If you have your own web hosting account this is really easy to do. Just add a new email when the old one gets too spammy. Then let anyone know of the new email that you need to. Scan the old email for good emails and update those websites or lists with the new email.
3. Use a third party service like Spam Arrest. This makes people have to verify their email before it can be sent to you. This will eliminate 99% of spam and is pretty reliable. Some good email will get lost from people that get the bounce back sent to their spam box. Kind of ironic actually.
4. Use Spam Assassin if available. At WebHost.pro we have a built in spam blocker available by request called Spam Assassin. This blocks most of the spam at the server level and marks it with a spam message in the title. So when you get it, the email message will say if Spam Assassin thinks it’s spam in the title.
5. Help block spammers by reporting them. When spam comes in, you can forward it to the government and the sender can get charged up to $500 per email. You will have to do a view source on the email and paste that at the top of the forwarded message. Just don’t forward email lists you joined or non spam, this makes the system very hard for the real spammers to be identified. Forward spam to firstname.lastname@example.org or at Spam Cop.
6. Make sure to use forms instead of your direct email on your website. Spammers scan the Internet for any email and sends it to them automatically or sells the list of emails. It’s always best to use a form that does not show your email on it.
7. Third party programs like Spam Pal block the email on your computer before it goes to your email program. They can be a little buggy and hard to set up but work well when set up correctly.
Summary: The best way to prevent spam is to be careful with your email. Don’t post it publicly and be willing to toss it out and use another if it gets too bad. Free email like GMail, Yahoo, and Hotmail block good mail all the time so are best just for temporary use. Only use these emails for joining sites and do not use them for anything important. You can add an email as a contact in most free email services and that will allow that email to go through the spam filter.
8. Don’t use an obvious email. If your domain is your-main-domain.com don’t use something like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org these will get spammed just by the spammer guessing they exist.
Good luck and carpe diem