How to Fight Spam Mail

Want to earn a college degree, improve your sex life or earn more money? Chances are, you have recently received an email professing to help you do all of these things.... spam. Originally just a canned sandwich product, the word spam now also refers to unsolicited email, which most of us think of as electronic junk mail.

Spam is not just aggravating — recent increases in the amount of spam being circulated have made it a serious problem for businesses, as well as home users. There are ways to fight spam. Perhaps if everyone followed these suggestions, spam would disappear.

Don't Open Spam

When you see an email that is obviously spam, don't open it. Just delete it. Some spam contains a hidden return receipt code, which notifies the spammer when you open the email. This tells him that he has a live address and will put your email address in line to receive even more spam. (A good firewall will notify you when information is being sent from your computer and prevent return receipt codes from executing without your knowledge.)

Don't Click on Links

Even if the product looks great, don't click on the link in any unsolicited email that is trying to sell you something. Never buy anything offered via spam. Purchasing, or even simply clicking on an item just to look at it, will tell spammers their plan is working. This will keep the spam flowing.

Don't Reply to Spam

If the email has an unsubscribe link, don't use it. You may think this will get you off the spam list, but it does just the opposite. A response only confirms the accuracy of your email address and will result in more spam being sent to your address.

Don't Give Your Credit Card Information to a Spammer

Smart spammers use many ways to get your credit card information. Symantec, a reputable software company, has found that spammers have been sending out email that advertises Symantec products at 90% off. The deal looks great. It looks very real. But it is a scam to get your credit card number.

Keep Your Email Address Private

Don't post your primary email address anywhere on the Internet. Don't use it for chat rooms, instant messaging, Internet bulletin boards or newsgroups. Instead, set up another email address with your Internet Service Provider or use a free email service, such as Hotmail, to set up an alternative email address. Use this secondary address in public Internet areas. Use your primary email address for friends, relatives and business associates.