How to keep your mailbox from filling up with Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail.
aka: "SPAM" or just "Junk Mail"
We all like getting freebies... and almost all of the time we are going to be required to give out our e-mail address to get them. Usually that's not a problem, spam wise, IF we are a little cautious about it. The following tips will help reduce any junk mail associated with ordering freebies...
First, and mainly, have different addresses and don't get them mixed up. Use #1 for friends and family only... #2 for business stuff only... #3 is for online stuff, like ordering freebies, that you don't really want going to your business account... and #4 is your "most disposable" address, for online activities that you suspect may be spam-producing - you will use it for a little while, then change it.
For addresses #3 & #4 ~ use any free web-based e-mail service that you want... often you will have to confirm that your address is real by replying to a "Confirmation e-Mail", but you probably won't want to use your main address for this kind of stuff.
After a while, a month - three months, you will be getting a lot of junk mail despite your best efforts... stop using that address and get a new one. (But delete the address, don't just ignore it. That's a waste of the service provider's resources, and rude besides.)
Be aware that some freebie offers are nothing more than e-mail collection scams. While I try to avoid listing any, some may slip through - and there are a lot of them out there. Tip-Off: If it's just a one-page site with a form, and maybe a list of offers or newsletters to sign up for, it may be an address collection page. If you sign up use your most disposable address.
Most legitimate freebie offers will have a checkbox that will allow you to opt-out of their newsletters... Un-Check the box unless you do want to receive their mail.
Some forms will have a checkbox to ask permission for them to share your information with third parties or 'advertising partners'... I recommend you never give them that permission.
There are a few other ways to reduce the amount of spam that you receive...
Never, never, never reply to unsolicited e-mail! Not Even To Unsubscribe! If you reply, all you have accomplished is to tell the spammer that your address is real and active.
Avoid putting your address in any site or page that will display it - like guestbooks or forums, chatrooms, etc. If you really want to, you can alter it so the web 'harvester-bots' can't use it... simply be adding a character or making a blank space where there shouldn't be one.
One more thing about guestbooks - even if they don't actually display your email address, just a link with your name or something... the html part is what the harvester-bot reads and your address is in there, so don't enter it, ok?
For forums - you can change the address like this: NOSPAMyourname@youremail.com. people will understand, and the 'bots can't use it.
If you have an 'Online Profile' (like the AOL profile) Erase It. That is a great place for spammers to learn about you and 'target' their email.
Get and use some sort of spam filtering software. I'm not recommending any one or other, just find one and use it.
Unfortunately, sooner or later your address will get on a list, then probably on a disc somewhere, and you'll get more and more junk. Learn to recognize the spam by the header or the subject and delete it. When it gets to be too much, that's when it's time to change addresses.
Thanks for reading ~ if you have a comment or would like to add a suggestion please feel free to send an e-mail to
Webmasters: Copy this little script... place your name and domain in the obvious places and paste to your site. It will prevent any e-mail harvester robots from grabbing your email address and adding you to their spam list.
If I could remember where I found this I would add a link to that site... unfortunately, I don't. But I can tell you it was one of the free script providers that I list on the webmasters freebies page.