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Advice for Users

No-one wants to receive spam, but every day we receive increasing amounts of it.

Your mail administrator will have been able to take a number of measures against it before your mail reaches you, but inevitably some will get through.

Here are some measures you can take yourself to help reduce the amount of spam you receive. By taking these measures not only will you reduce the amount of spam you get, but it will reduce the burden on your organisation's network mail servers, so everyone, apart from the spammers, benefits.

Keep your email address private

Spam can only be sent to you if the spammers discover your email address. So only give your address out to trusted contacts. Don't reveal your email address on your website, or in web or email discussion groups. (If you need to use an email address for these purposes, ask your mail admin about Mailtraq's 'temporary addresses' - which only accept mail for you for a limited time, and 'concealed addresses' which also hide your true email address.)

Don't respond to 'unsubscribe' links on spam

Regardless of the wording in the spam, never respond to unsubscribe facilities offered within the spam. Instead of unsubscribing you from their lists, you will get more spam, as the spammers will now know that you have an active email account, and read through spam messages. You email address is now worth much more to them (and to others who they trade their email address collections with)

Don't be fooled by official-sounding references to US legal codes. They are just as meaningless as the rest of the spam.

Save time with positive filters

It may be tempting to try to set up filters in your email client to move the spam into a separate folder. This is impossible (you'd need an infinite number of filters), but you can achieve the same thing by doing the opposite - positively filtering the mails you do want.

Most email you want to receive will likely come from people you already know, or contain key words spammers are unlikely to use (your product names, for example). By setting your email client to filter the emails you want into separate folders, you can immediately tell what email is of value.

There will always be a residual amount of unfiltered email - mostly spam - remaining in your inbox, which you need to scan through. You can then delete the spam, and if appropriate update your filters to move more of your wanted mail into separate folders.

After a few weeks of tuning you should have an organised system with wanted mail in various folders, and spam left in the inbox. Remember to only manually delete the spam - your filtering will never be perfect, and you don't want to loose important mail.


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