Spam – NEVER Unsubscribe! NEVER Reply!

We bloggers want to put an email address out there on our blogs for people to contact us with. The spammers have “data mining” software, which grabs those email addresses off the internet and loads them into their spam email programs. So how can you protect yourself from this deluge of unwanted email?

Never Unsubscribe – Never Reply

I got an email this morning from a friend of mine, who mentioned receiving a spam email from Romania. This one was actually personally addressed to their email address, which often tricks people into thinking they had actually subscribed to receive these emails.

The bottom line is, spammers send these emails out in the hope that people will unsubscribe – or reply to the email asking them not to email again. Can you figure the logic in people who reply to scammers and spammers saying “Don’t email me again, ever.” – You never asked them to email you and asking them not to email you makes no sense at all. Like they’re going to do anything you ask them to do!!!

Once they have confirmed there is a real human being reading emails at that email address, they can sell it on to other spammers and make big money out of it. So set yourself a policy of never reply, never unsubscribe.

Is It Possible To Not Get Spam Emails?

Yes it is. You just have to keep your email address completely private. As in, you don’t give it to anyone, anywhere. Of course, that defeats the purpose of having an email address! You want people to be able to get in touch with you – you just don’t want spammers and scammers getting in touch.

What Can I Do?

There is a mail service known as Trust My Mail. I found out about this service a couple of years ago when scam victims were asking me – how can I make sure scammers can’t email me?

How Does It Work?

You get to choose a question which people have to answer before their email is put into your inbox. When someone sends you an email, they will receive the following message in return – click for a bigger image – When the person who sent you email clicks on the link within the email they were sent (or copies and pastes it into their browser, which is always the wiser thing to do on the internet) they will see this screen – Once they have answered it correctly the first time, that person is then always able to send you mail. You can put the answer to the question right below your email address on your website, and spammers and scammers will never find it – remember they do not visit your site to get your email address, they harvest it using data mining programs.

What If People Don’t Respond?

You can see pending messages, and if you recognise the address or know the person sending you mail, you can approve them yourself as well. I recommend you check your pending messages once every 24 hours.

Even better, you can now ask Trust My Mail (thanks to their new mail forwarding service) to forward messages on to another email address – and to send messages like you normally would, quite simply. This means you can keep your real email address 100% private on the internet, protecting you from spammers and scammers – and family members who forward every email you send to every man and his dog – and often to scammers and spammers as well!

It’s all free, by the way. And there’s no ads. No this is not a sponsored post, I just referred a lot of scam victims to Trust My Mail and always found people were happy with it – and it was easy for them to use, which is important..

I Don’t Like That Idea – Options?

There are a couple of other options which are relatively simple that may not stop the spammers and scammers completely, but at least makes it harder for them.

Make Your Email Address An Image -

You may have seen this kind of image around the place – note this email address I don’t use anymore so don’t ya’all email me at it! This is easily generated online thanks to this wonderful website – Email Icon Generator.

The only trouble with this is, your email address needs to be simple enough that people can work it out from the image. Try to use letters only because numbers will be confusing. You will find some people will get the address wrong or simply not bother, though. It is almost as bad as those Captcha word generator things for comments.

Put An Extra Word Into Your Email Address –

Then tell people underneath which word to remove. For example (this is not a real email address) emailmePOOP@mail.com <--- take out the Poop to reach me. The only trouble with this is people find it annoying and troublesome and might not email you at all. People used to use NOSPAM as the word to take out - don't use that word anymore, the scammers and spammers have worked that trick out. They're not complete nitwits, ya'all! ;)
Use One Email For The Net –

This is the solution I have chosen for myself. Make an email address which is for the web only and which receives email only – never use it for subscribing to things or personal emails or responding to anything. Be very aware that emails which arrive in there can potentially be spams and scams, and never unsubscribe to anything sent to that address – because you never USED that address to subscribe.

Make another email address for personal correspondance and keep that one to yourself and friends only. There’s no limit on how many email addresses you can have.

I use 5 different email addresses for this blog. One here for people to contact me with, one which receives all the comments people post on my blog, one which I use to email people back with, one which I use for things I have signed up for which are blog related, and one which I use when I reply to comments.

Stumble It –

I hope this might be useful information and helpful to everyone out there on the net, if you found it to be useful please stumble it. ;)

Over To You!

What are you doing to protect yourself from spam and scammers? Do you receive a lot of scam or spam emails?

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12 comments:

  1. Emily, 27. September 2007, 22:01

    What about spelling out email addressed (“dot” and “at”)? Have they figured that out, too?

     
  2. thailandchani, 27. September 2007, 22:32

    Earthlink has a spam filter that seems to block most of it. Occasionally one gets through. Typically, I just delete it.

    I don’t like the free web based services such as Yahoo or Hotmail because they both seem to be primarily repositories for spam.

    Peace,

    ~Chani
    http://thailandgal.blogspot.com

     
  3. Julie Pippert, 28. September 2007, 2:13

    Thanks Snoskred…note to self: talk to Snos and Sephy before taking any technical action.

    Julie
    Using My Words

     
  4. liv, 28. September 2007, 4:11

    I just delete, delete, delete. Fortunately, yahoo and gmail seem to filter pretty accurately. Thanks for this.

     
  5. Ms Batville, 28. September 2007, 10:54

    Thanks Snoskred – good advice!

     
  6. Sandra, 28. September 2007, 14:19

    Very nice article! Spam is driving me crazy. I now have several email addresses. One of for family and personal friends. One for subscriptions, comments, etc. This way at least I keep my ‘personal’ email spam free!

     
  7. Snoskred, 28. September 2007, 16:46

    Emily – Yep. Unfortunately so. And a lot of times the people you want to email you haven’t worked that out and have no idea how to get in touch! ;( You might want to look at the image option. :)

    Chani – Yahoo supports scammers. They refuse to shut down scammer email accounts. We ask, they do nothing. :( Trustmymail actually listened when I sent them emails about two scammers who used their system – and they shut them down on the spot. Hotmail has become better about it as time has gone by – the scammers were using their system a lot and now they will shut them down when we report them.

    Julie – I was surprised to find out just how many people write abusive emails to the people they think are scammers and spammers. One time when we sent out warnings to over 8,000 people, we kept records of how many replied with a thank you (13%) how many didn’t reply (26%), how many replied with don’t email me again or simply UNSUBSCRIBE (22%) and how many replied with swear words and calling us spammers – 39%!!!

    Those people didn’t even read the email. We can only assume they were replying that way to every spammer and scammer who emailed them. We tried a follow up email to those who replied, and surprisingly nobody read those emails either – we got the same responses, identical.

    Liv – Gmail filter too accurately – they often filter mails I needed from people who emailed me here at the blog. Gmail is also the system of choice for scambaiters – which means many people are taking the scam emails OUT of the spam box and that decreases the effectiveness of their filter.

    Ms Batville – Good to see you back around the place! ;)

    Thanks for the comments all!

    Snoskred
    http://www.snoskred.org

     
  8. River, 28. September 2007, 16:57

    When I “right click” on a spam email I get an option to block the sender also to bounce the email back to the sender as unread, so mostly I do that, but if I haven’t logged on for a while and then find a whole list of spam I just do a bulk delete.

     
  9. Snoskred, 29. September 2007, 10:54

    Marie from Goji Capital –

    I’m unsure as to whether your comments are spam or not, because you seem to be linking to a commercial site rather than to a blog.

    I’d prefer it if you used a link back to your own blog rather than a site which seems to be selling something, so in the meantime I have deleted your comments.

    I’m sorry but there’s too many paid comments people out there and this comment looks just like comments they would leave, and you’ve now commented on this post twice with different comments. I have to discourage those paid commentors, so I have to stick to my policy and delete the comments and links.

    So what I will do is repaste your comments below without a link back to any commercial site. Please contact me via email if you are unhappy with this.

    I find Gmail to have one of the best spam filters I have ever used – it’s phenomenal and really good at not being overly aggressive in its filtering or too weak.
    -Marie

    I use Gmail (has a solid spam filter), but then I also make a point of reporting any spam or blacklisting certain mailers. I find that really reduces my inbox spam.
    -Marie.

    Sorry if I have got it wrong, if I have you can let me know.

    Snoskred
    http://www.snoskred.org

     
  10. Marie, 4. October 2007, 1:49

    I’m a real person! I was wondering why my first comment wasn’t there – I thought I didn’t post it properly, so I rewrote it. Anyway, yes, Gmail has the best free spam filter that I’ve ever encountered. Thanks, Marie.

     
  11. Snoskred, 4. October 2007, 7:51

    Thanks Marie – I’m sorry about that, there’s this guy who runs a business where he sends people around to make paid comments and they usually use a business name instead of a real name.

    It might be worthwhile knowing that as you’re commenting on blogs around the place because people will put you in the spam bin for doing it – I’m having trouble with that right now because I like to use a link in my signature. ;(

    Cheers,
    Snoskred

     
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