Make it harder for spammers to clog your inbox with ads and scams.
Step 1: Get a secondary email address When you use a chat room, post online, or make a purchase, spammers and marketers can pick up your email address. Open a secondary account for chatting, posting, and online transactions and save your primary email account for important communication.
Step 2: Complicate your address If you post your address online, add characters to it. For example, post [email protected] as [email protected] or bob (at) myemail (dot) com. Spambots can’t process the address, but the people you want to hear from will still know how to reach you.
Step 3: Google yourself Google yourself to find out where your email address shows up. Unless you’ve authorized it, contact sites and ask them to remove your address.
Step 4: Don't open spam If the subject line of an email looks suspiciously spam-like, don't open it. By opening a spam message, you run the risk of validating your address, and once spammers know they're dealing with a live person, they'll only send you more email.
TIP: Never click on links in spam email—including 'unsubscribe' links—and never, ever reply.
Step 5: Uncheck the box When you fill out an online registration form, make sure any box asking for your permission to be contacted by third parties is unchecked.
TIP: When you're signing up for online services, scan privacy policies to make sure your information won't be sold to other companies.
Step 6: Use your spam filter Use the free spam filter provided by your email or internet service provider. Consult the "help" section about the best way to enable it.
Step 7: Add additional software Search online for highly rated free anti-spam software, and update it as often as possible.
Step 8: Don't bite Buying from a spammer is like asking someone to steal your identity. Even if it seems like a good deal, don’t bite.
Step 9: Keep your info to yourself Never give out sensitive information online, and don't share your login or password with anyone. If you’re ever asked to validate personal info via email, even if the message looks like it's from your bank or another trusted source, it's probably a scam. Contact the business in question to make sure the email’s fake, and then delete the message.
FACT: According to the software security firm Symantec, in May 2008, spam comprised more than 80 percent of all sent email.