10 Tips to Avoid Spam


Nasir recently put up his email ID on a news and social forum. Now, he keeps getting over 50 spam mails in a day to sign up for irrelevant newsletters, free products and so on.


Many of us have found ourselves in Nasir’s shoes. Spam mails can be very annoying. The rate at which they flood your inbox can be even more annoying because they come on a daily basis.

Below are 10 tips which you can use to protect your email address in order to minimise the risk of getting spammed. Conveying these tips to all the users in your organization could help reduce the volume of spam received.

  1. Spammers in most cases need to know your email address before they can spam you so keep your email address to yourself as much as possible and use it only for work purposes.
  2. When posting on a forum do not include your email address as part of your signature. If the need arises for you to post your email address, format it so that it cannot be easily harvested such as “name –at- gmail – dot- com.” If you need to include your email address in your signature, include a small graphic image containing your email address.
  3. Guest books are a prime source for the harvesting of email addresses that spammers use. Some guest books automatically hyperlink your email to your username. Avoid posting in such forums and never include your email address in the post itself. Do not use your work email for this kind of personal use. If you do not have an alternative email address consider using free services such as Google mail, Yahoo! mail or Hotmail.
  4. When signing up for forums, offers and other public services never use your work email address. If it doesn’t break the terms of use, consider using disposable email addresses. If the terms prohibit the use of disposable emails, use free email services that include spam filtering.
  5. Never click on links in a spam email. In some cases clicking will result in you confirming to the spammer that the email address is valid and the user is likely to click on links thus making you a prime target for more spam and phishing attacks.
  6. Always review the privacy terms on sites before registering. You need to know that whoever you’re signing up with will not give away your email address to third parties who might actually end up selling your email address for money.
  7. If you use IRC and chatrooms ensure that you’re not displaying your email address publicly (some IRC clients do this by default).
  8. If you have a personal website, do not publish your work or personal email on it. Spammers use scanners that harvest such emails as well. Use free email services for this purpose.
  9. Do not use the unsubscribe links in spam emails. In some cases, that will actually confirm to the spammer that the email address is valid.
  10. Do not open attachments in spam. You could get infected with Trojans that will send your email contacts to a spammer as well as entrap you in a spammer distribution chain i.e. your computer might be the one that the spammer uses to send spam emails.

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Summary steps

  • Spams are irrelevant or unsolicited emails sent to individuals for the purpose of advertising, phishing, or spreading malware.
  • Avoid signing up your email to services or forums that are not highly important to you.