Spam is unsolicited, unwanted mail sent to your mailbox. Spammers use many sneaky tactics to fool filters so they can deliver the junk mail to your inbox. These include using substitute letters in words (such as M@rtgage), putting common words or phrases in the subject like "hi" or "I'm back in town", and leaving the subject blank altogether. A lot of spam invites you to open an attachment, which is almost guaranteed to have a virus in it. DO NOT open attachments without a virus scanner installed on your computer, and especially if it isn't from someone you know. Just delete the message.
Here are some things you can do to prevent spam from appearing in your in-box (items 1-7 from http://www.barracudanetworks.com/ns/support/anti_spam_tips.php).
- Use unusual e-mail addresses. Some spammers use computer programs to guess at email addresses.Using unusual email addresses containing numbers and letters can thwart this tactic.
- Dont provide your e-mail address over IM. Do not send your email address through chat rooms, instant message services or Internet bulletin boards and newsgroups. Automated bots and other individuals can easily harvest your e-mail address from IM chatrooms.
- Use a web-based contact form instead of providing your e-mail address. If you want to enable users of your Web site to contact you online, provide a form. Make sure the "send to" email address is not contained in the page HTML, but in the form processing script. There are automated crawlers that scour the Internet looking for e-mail addresses on web pages. You can substitue the @ symbol in an e-mail address with the word "at" such as "admin at digiserv.biz " which will convey your e-mail address to someone without allowing automated bots to scan in your e-mail address.
- NEVER reply to spam messages. Never reply to spam messages even when they entice you to reply to "remove" you from their mailing lists. Often the instructions are either bogus, or a way to collect more addresses. Replying confirms to the spammers that your email address is active, and you may receive even more spam.
- Use fake e-mail addresses. Most Web-based sign-up forms require an email address. If you don't want to hear from the site (and don't need a confirmation e-mail or tech support), don't give a real email address. When you register for products or provide your e-mail to web sites, it can often end up on a list that can be purchased by spammers. Instead, use a free e-mail account such as Yahoo! or Hotmail that you can give to sites you want to register at. This way, if your address ends up on a spam list, it's not coming to your primary account.
- Opt out. When you do sign up for or buy something online and you have to give out an email address, remember to opt out of everything you're not absolutely sure you want to receive.
- Never submit personal information to non-secure web sites. Never submit your credit card details or other personal information to non-secure Web sites. Secure Web sites will have a locked padlock icon that appears in yellow, or in a yellow box, on the bottom bar of the order form Web browser.
- ALWAYS check to make sure any links you are clicking on in e-mails go to where you think they are going. Often times, spammers will make a link "look" like a legitimate link, but the underlying link goes to somewhere you don't want to be.
- If you start getting a lot of spam from a particular sender and can't control it, let us know by sending the complete e-mail (including headers) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to filter that spam from your accounts. Spammers are very crafty and can get around rules even we put in place, so there is no 100% guarantee we can eliminate all your spam and still allow all your legitimate mail to come through.