Spam is extremely frustrating for some individuals. If you are one of many trying to reduce the amount of spam in your inbox, the following guidelines can help.

Encrypt eMail Addresses

When you create a new email address, come up with a combination of letters and numbers that are cryptic in nature something you couldn't find in a dictionary. For example, instead of using sally, or sally1, or sallysmith, choose: s18all56y. An odd letter/number combination is inconvenient for humans to remember, but more challenging for the spammer's automated programs to guess.

Use Fake eMail Addresses

On some websites, you are required to enter an email address into a standard form before you can proceed through the website. If you don't feel comfortable giving out your email address to the particular website, leave a fake email address instead.

Guard eMail Addresses

Treat your email address the same way you treat your personal information with care. Don't divulge it to those you don't trust. If you aren't sure you can trust a particular website, read their privacy policy to see what they plan to do with your email address.

Don't Open Spam

If the Spam is HTML (one of those attractive graphic emails) and you open it, graphic images are pulled from the spammer's server. Your computer informs the spammer that your email address is in use. Don't open email from an address that's unfamiliar.

Don't Reply

Remember those pesky telemarketers and unrelenting door-to-door salesmen? Once you answer the telephone or door, they know you are home and are a challenge to get rid of. The same is true of spammers. Once you reply to a spam email, you have just confirmed for the spammer the legitimacy of your email address.

Don't Post eMail Addresses

Once your email address has been placed on a website (personal or corporate) or entered into an online guest book, newsgroup, contact list, chat room, or other online activities, you have just invited a spammer to take your email address. Spammers "harvest" your emails through programs called spiders, crawlers, and bots. These programs scour the web for email addresses to be used in the spammers future email campaigns.

Opt Out

When you are purchasing something online or signing up for a service or promotion, be sure to opt-out on any additional services or promotions you don't want extras cluttering your inbox.

Don't Unsubscribe

Honorable marketers will unsubscribe your email address if you request it, but distinguishing between legitimate companies and those who aren't is a challenge. Check their privacy policy and complaint procedures. Unsubscribe requests can be used against you your email address may be confirmed by or sold to spammers. You'll know this has happened to you if spam in your inbox increases after you submit an unsubscribe request.

Use a Spam Filter

Unless you filter your spam with a white list (blocking all but approved incoming email addresses) you will still receive spam-accept this as a reality. Even though the perfect spam filter doesn't exist, there are many good spam filters available that can help reduce the spam you receive.

To compare privacy software features and read product reviews, see our Privacy Software Review.

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