Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fighting SPAM

There has been an exponential increase in the amount of junk mail to one of my mailbox in recent months. Although the junk mail filter has been very efficient in filtering out these junk mail, the sheer bulk of spam means that one simply do not have time to even look at the subject lines (titles) before deleting. As a result, I routinely delete tons of e-mail without even looking at the junk mail folder, which brings up another question: what if one of those e-mail is not junk and worth reading? Well, tough luck :-)

There are a bunch of well known tips on the web for people to avoid spam, but most of them focus on the protection of your privacy and your e-mail address, i.e. the less people/organization that know about your e-mail address, the less likely that someone can spam that mailbox:
  • Don't give out name, e-mail address, phone number, (and certainly not your SSN) to any organization on the web. Unless you really know them very well, e.g. you probably have to give your SSN to your employer and your bank.
  • Don't buy/donate/click anything based on junk mail that you receive
  • Create a temporary e-mail address if you really need to sign up something that requires e-mail address. After a long period of them, if they haven't spam that temporary address, you can go ahead change that address to your mail e-mail, or simply forward from that temporary address to your mail e-mail box.
However, there isn't much progress on reducing spam once your e-mail address is known to the spammers. Telling the spammers to stop contacting you is simply acknowledging that your e-mail address exists and that you actually read their junk mail. Hence, the best way is to ignore and delete them.

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