Stop spam and scam emails

with the Email Preference Service and other techniques

Reducing the amount of spam email

DMA Email preference service

There’s no general or effective spam email preference service but the closest you can get is to remove the ones from companies in the Direct Marketing Association (most of the big companies in the UK)

Do not respond

The worst thing you can do is to respond to a spam email because (1) they know it’s a valid and active email address, (2) they know you’re the type of person who reads and responds to such emails, (3) they will then send you more spam emails and (4) they will sell your email address to more people who will send you spam emails.

Get anti-spam software and adjust the settings

Most internet companies have anti-spam software included for free or buy it from a reputable company to remove the most common spam emails.

Delete it by putting it into your Junk Mail folder

Most email software has the option to add an email to a spam folder and bar the email address that is sending the spam. However, be careful that they have not sent it from a fake address of a friend of yours because you will block emails from the real person.

Add generic email address endings to your spam filter

Add email address endings that you would never realistically expect to receive emails from to your spam filter eg if you would never expect to get emails from .jp (japan), .xyz, .af (Afghanistan), .ro (Romania), .ru (Russia), etc then ban any emails from them being seen by you.

Block pictures in HTML emails

If your email software automatically shows you pictures in all your emails then it means that people sending spam emails know that you have received it so will send you more spam and sell your address. They set up the pictures so every picture is specific to your email address so that if you view it then they know which email address saw it so they know your email address is active.

Turn off automatic sending of read and delivery receipts and automatic processing of meeting requests

They know you have an active email so will send more.

Avoid being added to any mailing lists in the first place.

A lot of people accidentally or unintentially sign up to mailing lists by not unticking boxes when filling in forms from companies. The basic rule is: Whenever you fill in a form with your email address or contact details always look for a box to tick or untick to say you do not want to be added to any mailing lists.

Don’t add your email address to a public website or newsgroup

Spammers trawl the internet for email addresses to send emails to so if you can avoid having your email address publicly available then you will get less spam. If you need it for business then use JavaScript to create the email address online, or use a contact form instead or use a separate email address instead.

Don’t use the “Unsubscribe” option in the spam email

Spammers often add an “unsubscribe” option that looks legitimate at the end of the email but all they do is send you more. Just don’t respond at all – add it to you junk mail filter and delete it.

Don’t give out your main email address all the time

Have more than one email address that you use: one main one for work, friends and family; another for your purchases from companies that you want to deal with; and another for generic companies and website which you don’t trust very much. Ideally (if you control your own domain name) then you give out one email address for each company so that if you receive an email from yourbankname@yourdomainname.abcd then since you only gave it to that company it is more likely to be legitimate.

Or, when filling out forms, just don’t give them your email address at all. Tell them you don’t have an email address (even though they don’t believe you) or add a non-working email address if necessary and you don’t ever want to hear from them again. Many website that want you to sign up before downloading something will jump straight to the download page even after you enter a non-working email address to try it out first before giving your real one.

Never click on a link in an email to your bank or other secure website.

It’s increasingly easy to fake a realistic email that looks like it came from your bank or other valuable company. If any company (even one you have dealings with) send you an email with a link then don’t click on the link which could be fake but instead just go to the website manually in your browser and log in. It’s very, very easy to send an email that looks like it comes from someone else!

Mark your important email address as not spam

To prevent important emails going into spam accidentally  by your anti-spam software mark them as “not spam” so they go into your “white list” so you don’t miss anything.