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How To Stop Spam Email Correctly

Frustrated by spam email?



We know there are numerous articles and tips on how to minimize spam. Many email service providers have tools in place to filter spam. There are also standalone tools to fight spam for your own use, if you have the time and know-how to install and configure them.

Yet it seems that none of them, alone or in conjunction, really solve the problem for you. Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this here, right?

Similar to our How To Correctly Protect your Windows computer from viruses article, we present here our approach to stopping spam.

Unlike other articles, we will not post here examples of annoying spam email content, nor will we explain why spam is bad or why spam is so prevalent. There are plenty of articles on the web doing just that. Instead, we will focus on the How to stop spam email effectively.

By "effectively", we mean:
  1. You minimize the likelihood of receiving spam email in the first place.
  2. If you do receive spam email, despite implementing tip #1 above, you can identify "the source" of that spam.
  3. You act upon the information concluded from step #2 above.

The crux of our method stems from the unfortunate proliferation of websites asking for your email address, only to start spamming it, ignoring the CAN-SPAM law in the US (and similar laws in other countries). It is very difficult to know in advance which website will turn out to be a spammer. We therefore recommend the following principle:

When providing your email address to a website, use an email address specific for that website only.

Depending on the number of websites to which you subscribe, this may initially seem difficult to implement. Most email account providers allow only one email address per person. Some, like gmx.com, allow up to 10 email addresses per account but that still might not be sufficient. The solution:

Buy your own domain and have as many email addresses as you want.

For brevity sake, we will assume that you have already purchased your own domain. This will let us focus on the actual steps of turning your domain's email forwarding feature to a powerful anti-spam tool:

  1. In addition to your domain name, obtain an external email account (e.g. swpz@gmail.com)
  2. In your domain's account management, use the "E-mail Forwarding Setup" to add a new email address per each website to which you subscribe. Forward it to your external email account:
Email forwarding setup example image
  1. Use that new email address to register to the website in question.
  2. When you receive a spammy email message, look at the "To:" field. If you chose a good userid that corresponds to the name of the website to which you registered, you will be able to tell immediately who was the source of the leakage... (please note that the website in question might not be directly involved in spamming you. Sometimes, it is possible that it has been compromised by hackers, who somehow managed to get access to its email address list).
  3. Now, you can either replace that email forwarding address with a different one, updating the spamming website's account as well -- or simply delete it, giving up on that website altogether.
 
Please remember to check this article regularly as we continue to update it to further clarify the instructions, provide examples and additional recommendations.

Stay tuned...

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