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  From the January 2016 Issue of Prestwood eMag
Industry IT Water-Cooler for Power-Users:
Stamp Out Spam
Posted 17 years ago on 11/23/2005 and updated 3/18/2011
Take Away:

How to fight back against spam and reclaim your inbox.


As you may know, the volume of spam messages sent across the Internet has reached epidemic levels. Some industry experts estimate that three out of every five e-mail messages that are sent today are spam. The spam epidemic is costing companies, professionals, and individual users considerable amounts of time, money, and resources.

What is spam, and what can I do about it?
Spam is generally defined as an unsolicited mailing, usually sent to many recipients. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. Spam costs the sender very little to send. Most of the costs are paid by the recipient or the carriers rather than the sender. Some effective methods for preventing your e-mail address from being captured, sold or abused by spammers are listed below:

Protect Your Privacy
If you plan to enter your information to any Web site, please review the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies of the Web site. If the policies do not clearly indicate what will be done with your information, you should reconsider posting any details to that Web site.

Publishing Your E-mail Address on Your Web Site
Instead of having a simple "mailto" link on your Web site, such as "Please e-mail me at," consider using a form-to-e-mail CGI script that allows Web site visitors to fill out a form to send you e-mail. Prestwood offers such a CGI script free with your paid hosting. This will help prevent e-mail address harvesting robots and other spammers from capturing your address.

Product Registration
Many times the product registration form has options pre-selected that enable the company to solicit you by e-mail, even though you may not want it. Be sure to review the options you are selecting and any options that may have been selected for you by default.

Never Reply to Spam or an Unsubscribe Request
Never reply to a piece of spam or request to be unsubscribed. Your reply confirms that your address is working and provides the spammer the opportunity to add your address to their list or sell it to another entity. This actually helps facilitate more spam.

Report Spam
An effective way to help prevent spam is to report it to the ISP or mail administrator where the spam originated. Such reports help ISPs to identify the user or users who sent the spam. Report the spam, including full headers from the spam, to the ISP abuse department or postmaster e-mail address.

Federal law strictly limits the information that online service providers may disclose about their users. However, e-mail messages do contain some information about the sender.

E-mail headers contain an Internet Protocol (IP) address that corresponds to the sender's Internet service provider (ISP). A line in the e-mail message contains an 8 to 12 digit number, separated by periods. For example: "Received: from [123.456.78.91] by . . ." The "123.456.78.91" represents the ISP's unique IP address for the sender. Most spam headers have multiple "Received: from" lines. If the e-mail message has not been forged then, in general, the first such line from the bottom is the true origin of the spammed message. After you identify the IP address, you can search to determine which ISP provides this person with Internet access. A Web site that attempts to determine the actual computer with that IP address is located at


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Comment 1 of 2

Here are some additional tips...

Do NOT open emails until you've disabled HTML and images from unknown sources.

HTML automatically validates your email address. See, most of these emails are cranked to email addresses that they don't even know if they exist. When you load an HTML email or it's images a little packet sends back validation that your email is indeed valid. Then they sell your address to listing marketers.

Today if you have a site you will often get emails sent to support@ sales@ webmaster@ info@ and more. It's pretty safe for them assume that your site has email addresses like this. You can change these email accounts to something like salesoffice@ or something to minimize that risk but really who cares? Because the next tip solves most of your email spam problems. It is ..

Move your website to a provider that scans emails before they even hit your server. I'm in the midst of moving my 5 websites now just because my ISP (AITNET.COM) won't do this without charging me a heafty fee. So long guys!

Another tip .. keep a general email account (or two) thru someone like Google, etc. They carefully filter true Spam before it ever hits your account. Use these email accounts for public posting on forums, etc.

Posted 12 years ago

Comment 2 of 2

A dedicated hotmail or gmail account for product response and registration will take care of a great deal of spam. What remains will probably come from contacts' mailing lists being hacked. For this your mailing client offers rules which allow you to block senders and send unwelcome mail directly to junk mail, from where they can be deleted en mass without opening or preview.

Posted 11 years ago
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