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Tips on Reducing Spam/Spoof E-Mails

Here are some tips on how you can help prevent the amount of spam/spoof e-mail that reaches your inbox:

  1. Before you join a mailing list, make sure the list owner or the web site owner will not sell your e-mail address.  There should be Terms and Conditions available on the web site detailing how your e-mail address will be used.  See if you can opt out of receiving e-mail from the site where you are registering. If you are still not sure, check the web site's privacy statement or don't sign up to the list. 

  2. Don't use your University e-mail to sign up to a mailing list, or to a web site. Instead, get a free e-mail account like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail etc. and use that address to sign up. This will help "cut down" on how much spam you get in your University or home e-mail. 

  3. Many e-mail programs allow you to preview the message without actually opening the e-mail. This is a good practice as you will be able to see the text without sending a signal to the sender that the message has even been opened, and if you discover that this is spam, just delete it. 

  4. Use a spam filter.
    If you use Outlook, use the junk mail filter (Outlook 2003 and later). This is really good at filtering out most of the spam. Make sure you check your junk mail folder before emptying it. Sometimes a legitimate e-mail does get put into the junk mail folder, but this is rare, and easy to correct if it does (right click on the actual message, a menu comes up, go to junk mail, another menu will fly out, and then click on either 'Add Sender to Blocked Senders List' or 'Add Sender to Safe Senders List').  But be aware, if you are going to add them to the blocked senders list, make sure that you have repeatedly gotten spam e-mail from the same sender over and over. If you haven't then chances are, the spammer has moved on to the next e-mail address and won't use that e-mail address again.  

  5. Never use your e-mail address as your screen name in a chat room 

  6. When you are purchasing something online, or filling out a form, watch out for check boxes that are already checked. Most of the time, this is to automatically enrol you onto a mailing list that you may not even want to join. 

  7. If you are unsure whether an e-mail is legitimate or spam, find the company name in the phone book and call them and inquire if they sent out the e-mail to a list of people. If you can't find a phone number, there is a good chance that the e-mail is spam.

  8. Never reply to a spam message or click on any of the links. This includes the 'unsubscribe' link. When you click on this link, it actually informs the sender of the spam that your e-mail address is a legitimate e-mail address. Once the spammer knows that your e-mail address actually exists (they don't know for sure until you reply to the message) this can open you up to more spam. This does not necessarily indicate that all 'unsubscribe' links are bad, they are actually required if you are signed up for a mailing list, but if you haven't signed up for the mailing list, then it's spam, so don't click on the 'unsubscribe' link. 

  9. Don't circulate chain mail or forward an e-mail from someone you don't know to a list of people. This basically just helps the spam message "stay alive" and the spammers get all of these email addresses.

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research