Tips in Fighting Email Spam

trashed spamWho says spam problems already cured? Not at all or even getting worse, as we can see happening daily (when we happened seeing) to our colleagues’, friends’ or boss’ mailboxes (or your own mailbox, too?). At very least, the same founding concluded in a recent survey in US from Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm reported below.

The report found spam costing US businesses $712 per employee annualy in lost worker productivity. Despite aggressive spam filter technology, 66 percent of email messages reaching user inboxes are spam

According to the survey of 849 email users conducted during March 2007, Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm found that two out of every three email messages received by today’s business users are spam. As a result, users are spending 16 seconds identifying and deleting each spam email, which translates into an annual cost of $70 billion to all US businesses.

“Although most organizations have utilized some spam filtering technology, clearly it has not solved the spam problem. Spam is no longer just a technology problem, it’s a problem that we should be attacking with more than just technology.” VP of Research at Nucleus Research, Rebecca Wettemann quoted as saying.

From the report we also found a tip, that in our real daily email to be cautious and avoid using the word “Nigeria”, as name of this country in Africa is on the top of keyword blocked by many spam filter. If found in subject or body of message, the email may be blocked as being suspected to be a spam.

Some other key findings in the report include:

  • Looking at the total email traffic, it’s estimated that at least 90 percent of email reaching corporate servers is spam.
  • The average user receives 21 spam messages to their inbox each day.
  • The most common types of spam identified by respondents were adult oriented solicitations (86 percent), financial lending solicitations (80 percent), and retail offers (76 percent)
  • Respondents are beyond frustation over their spam-laden mailbox problem. Almost 20 percent of respondents believe jail time is an appropriate punishment for serial spammers

If yours or the ones you care’s mailbox ladened with spams, I can offer you the following tips. Just please be careful in applying them, as you may risk in losing valid authorized emails.

Tips what to do if you received spam

  • First rule and most of the time always true: ignore spam.
    Acting the wrong way may make more spams coming in your mailbox.
  • Use email software with built-in or 3rd party installed decent spam filter.
    Being integrated built-in spam filter will simplify in filtering spam. Continuous update in spam database, anti-spam technics will ensure the spam filter to work with the latest best available methods.
  • Turn on images block feature in your email.
    This images if on can be an indication for spammers to identify your mailbox is actually active, that further encourage the spammers to send more.. spam. So turn it off by default until you recognize it’s a legitimate email.
  • Delete junk email messages without opening them. Sometimes even opening spam can alert spammers or put an unprotected computer at risk.
  • Don’t reply to spam unless you’re certain that the message comes from a legitimate source. This includes not responding to such messages that offer an option to “Remove me from your list.” Do not “unsubscribeâ€? unless the mail is from a known or trusted sender.
  • Update your email junk mail program and email filters. Spammers continually try new tricks, trying to bypass anti-spam technologies.
  • Don’t give personal information in an email or instant message. It could be a trick. Most legitimate companies won’t ask for personal information by email.

Tips what to do if you received spam

  • If a company you trust, such as your credit card company or bank, appears to ask for personal information, check into it further. Call the company using a number you retrieve yourself from the back of your credit card, a bill, phone book, or the like—not a number from the email message. If it’s a legitimate request, the company’s customer service department should be able to help you.
  • Think twice before opening attachments or clicking links in email or instant messages, even if you know the sender. If you cannot confirm with the sender that an attachment or link is safe, delete the message. If you must open an attachment that you’re less than sure about, save it to your hard disk first so that your antivirus software can check it before you open it.
  • Don’t buy anything or give to any charity promoted through spam. Spammers often swap or sell the email addresses of those who have bought from them, so buying something through spam may result in even more spam.
    Plus, spammers can make their living (and a lucrative one, too) on people’s purchases of their offerings. Resist the temptation to buy products through spam, and help to put spammers out of business.
    Criminals use spam to prey on people’s desire to help others. If you receive an email request from a charity you’d like to support, avoid donation scams by calling the organization directly to find out how to contribute.
  • Don’t forward chain email messages. Not only do you lose control over who sees your email address, but you also may be furthering a hoax or aiding in the delivery of a virus.
    Plus, there are reports that spammers start chain letters expressly to gather email addresses. If you don’t know whether a message is a hoax or not, a site like Hoaxbusters can help you separate fact from fiction.
  • There’s no other choice, if you have to, you can shut your spam-ladened email address for a temporary time or permanently, and don’t forget to let your acquaintances know in advance your new email address to keep in touch. The spammers will receive a bounce back email notifying them that your email address doesn’t exist and will sooner or later “unsubscribe” your email address from their spam list.

Meanwhile preventive precautions taken may be as the following.

Tips to avoid or minimize your mailbox ladened with spam

  • Use a secondary, not your main primary email address, for your casual daily use such as: mailing list, newsletter subscriptions, My Space, Friendster, etc. In case something goes wrong, and you got lots of spams there, it’s only your non-primary email address and you may shut it down anytime. Many providers of free email address to use: Yahoo, MSN / Hotmail, Gmail.
  • Disguise your email address when you post it to a newsgroup, chat room, bulletin board, or other public web pages, for example, johan AT example DOT com, Mary [at] example [dot] Net, etc. This way, a person can interpret your address, but the automated programs that spammers use often cannot.
  • Only share your primary email address with people you know. Avoid listing your email address in large Internet directories and job-posting Web sites. Don’t even post it on your own Web site (unless you disguise it as described above).
  • Set up an email address dedicated solely to Web transactions. Consider using a free email service to help keep your primary email address private. When you get too much spam there, simply drop it for a new one.
  • Create an email name that’s tough to crack. Try a combination of letters, numbers, and other characters— or (substituting zero for the letter “O”). Research shows that people with such names get less junk email. But your email may not be easy to memorize nor spell by your acquaintances as well.
  • Watch out for pre-checked boxes. When you buy things online, companies sometimes pre-select check boxes by which you indicate that it’s fine to sell or give your email address to responsible parties. Clear the check box if you don’t want to be contacted.