Strategies for managing your email to avoid SPAM:

  • Use obscure email addresses in Hotmail and Yahoo, ones which cannot be "guessed" by spammer software that auto-generates email addresses.
  • Ask your friends and family to never send e-cards to your main email address. (In doing so, they risk giving your email address to spammers.)
  • Never forward jokes or chain letters. Your address travels with the forwarded message, and you never know who will get their hands on it.
  • Never reply to spam, even to request removal. When you reply, you verify that your email address is current, which means spammers can sell your address to other spammers for even more money.
  • Use Outlook and Outlook Express "Rules" to delete spam based on keywords or sender email addresses.
  • Create a special email address for email newsletters, or even a separate address for each newsletter you subscribe to.
  • Never post your private email on the Web or in chat rooms, message boards, or anywhere else.
  • Change your address from time to time, taking care to notify the newsletters you want to continue receiving.
  • Never reward spammers by buying anything advertised through spam.
    Create an Outlook rule or mail filter to automatically delete any email that doesn't contain your email address in the To: field. (Make sure you exempt newsletters that you do want to receive.) This works well only if you also use rules to "exempt" senders in your address book.

There are also numerous reputable anti-spam organizations that offer more help, products, services, tips, and ideas for fighting spam, including Junk Busters and spam.abuse.net. Check them regularly for tips, software, and help.

Tools:

  • SpamNet: It turns out that the easiest, cheapest, and most effective way to stop spam also helps harm spammers worldwide. It's called SpamNet from Cloudmark. (The downside is that the software works only with Microsoft Outlook, though it will soon also support Outlook Express.) If you use Outlook, you can download SpamNet now. It's free.

    The installation creates a "spam" folder in Outlook and dumps most of your spam there automatically. When spam isn't caught by SpamNet, you simply select that message and click "Block." Here's the good part. Clicking "Block" tells central SpamNet servers that the message is spam, so message, sender, and advertiser are placed on the global block list, which means you're helping to identify spam for other users. The software becomes more effective for you, and more damaging to spammers, with each passing day.

  • Another favorite among those who don't use Outlook, is MailWasher. MailWasher is highly configurable shareware, so you can tweak and customize it until it eliminates 99% of all spam. Best of all, it can automatically return fake error messages to the spammers, telling their automated computers that your email address is no longer valid.
  • There are a wide variety of other anti-spam solutions recommended by your fellow readers. Some cost money, others are free. Some emphasize effectiveness, others convenience. Each takes a slightly different approach to stopping spam. I recommend that you experiment with combinations of these solutions until the spam stops. Here are some solutions.
The information listed above was compiled partially from the article: "The Trouble With Spam and What to Do About It"
By Mike Elgan