By GURU: DAVE SMITH
Is your delete finger numb from squashing the spam from your in-box? Read our top 5 tips that stop evil spammers before they can get to you.
Spammers use email robots called mailbots to collect addresses from newsgroups and the Web.
You can outwit them. Never add your address to Internet email directories. When you're on the Web, leave the email address field in generic Web forms blank, or supply a decoy address. (There are now thousands of websites that offer free email accounts; here's a complete list.)
For especially delicious spam redirection, give the email address of your least favorite online company -- e.g. webmaster@[insert company name here].com.
2.Confuse spammers by using two email accounts.
Make one your primary account that you give out to friends, family, and colleagues. Use the other account for mailing lists, newsgroups, or Web forms. If your ISP doesn't provide a second address at no charge, get a
free Web-based email account.
3.Scramble your address.
If you post public messages to newsgroups or Web discussion boards, you can limit the amount of junk sent to you by practicing address munging (also called spoofing). Adding extra characters or words to your outgoing address confuses mailbots. You can make the change in your email application's preferences. If your real address is email@example.com, a scrambled version would be firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to add instructions in your signature file that explain how to decode your address so you can receive legitimate replies, but don't include your actual email address because mailbots scan the contents of all posts.
4.Screen the spam.
Your email software's filtering tools can block unwanted messages automatically. (Read about Outlook's email filters here.) Here are some things you can set your email filters to look for:
If a message doesn't include your correct email address in the To: or Cc: field, trash it.
Take note of the domains that frequently send you junk mail, and block messages coming from them.
Delete messages with subject lines in all caps (Tell your friends to avoid leaving Caps Lock on.) and messages with a lot of dollar signs or exclamation points. You should also filter out messages that include spammer lingo like "unsubscribe," "X-priority," "adv" (for advertisements), "bulk email," "authenticated sender," or "make money fast."
You can add much stronger antispam powers to your email application with a spam filter. Our favorite spam buster is Novasoft SpamKiller 2. It is a powerful filtering tool that filters all parts of incoming messages, and
it costs just $30. It comes with thousands of preset filters you can edit to suit your needs.
5.Never respond directly to junk mail.
A reply verifies to the spammer that your email address is active. If you're riled up enough about it, complain to the ISP that hosts the spammer. Figuring out where junk mail originated can be tricky, however. Open the message and look for IP addresses or domains within parentheses in the header's Received lines (information outside the parentheses could be faked), then verify them using Acme Address Digger. Once you've identified the most likely culprit, visit the Network Abuse Clearinghouse for the appropriate contacts, and send a message requesting that they help stop spam coming from the offending domains
Email header manipulation isn't just for spammers anymore. If you use Outlook Express to check several different Web-based or POP accounts, you don't have to reveal your account information to everyone.
Here's how to create new identities in Outlook Express.
Unless you're using a Hotmail account as a second identity, the first thing you need to do is get your incoming and outgoing mail settings. To use another Web-based email account as your new identity, click here to find out how to get these settings.
Now, you're ready to get started.
1.Under Tools, click on Accounts.
2.From Internet Accounts, click the Mail tab.
3.Click Add, and choose Mail.
4.Type your name as you'd like it displayed to your recipient, and click Next.
5.Enter the email address you'd like to have displayed to your recipient, and click Next.
6.Enter your incoming and outgoing mail settings, and click Next.
7.Type your account name (whatever appears before the @ in your address).
8.Enter your password, and click next.
Now, whenever you send a message from Outlook Express, all your identities will appear in a drop-down box in the "from" field. Choose the identity you want the recipient to see, and send the email as usual.