Dear Information Overloaded,

First of all: don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t panic! It might feel like it sometimes, but getting lots of unwanted mail (also known as SPAM) is not the great flood of biblical proportions. It?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s also something you CAN do something about. Put yourself in the head of a spammer, a simple-minded person who wants to take advantage of the ease, speed and low-cost nature of e-mail to scam you out of your money, try to sell you useless products or even to advertise pornography. But while from your perspective you feel invaded and inconvenienced, the spammer isn't especially interested in you personally - doesn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t even know (or care!) who you are. He is writing to thousands of people he doesn't know in the hopes that one or two will write back and fall for his scam. Understand this, and you are well on your way to freeing yourself from the indignity of spam and reconquor your mailbox!



There is nothing you can do to stop spam completely, but here are a few tips from Time To Get Online that will help you to keep it at a minimum:
  1. Make sure your e-mail address is not on any Web sites
    One of the many ways spammers find you is by running programs that scan the Web for e-mail addresses. Whenever you join a Web site or post a message to a mailing list, make sure that your address is not publicly available. Try searching for your e-mail address using Google to see if your address is on any Web pages. You can then ask to have your address removed from the Web sites.
  2. Never respond to spam
    Resist the urge to send an angry response complaining or demanding to ?¢‚Ǩ?ìget off?¢‚Ǩ¬ù the list. The spammer will ignore your complaint and gratefully use your e-mail to confirm your address and send more spam. The best way to deal with spam is to ignore it. Really annoyed or offended? Spam is against the rules of most Internet Service Providers, so if you want to help stop it you can report specific messages using a spam reporting service such as http://www.spamcop.net
  3. Create two e-mail accounts for yourself
    The first account is public: possibly listed on your Web site, used on registration forms, and publicly available (i.e. info@yourorg.org). Be aware that this account is likely to receive a considerable amount of spam. The second account is a private, personal account. Give this e-mail address only to trusted individuals ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú partners, colleagues, and supporters. In this way, your personal account should receive very little, if any, spam, allowing you to work more effectively. Of course, with time, even your provaite e-mail address will be given to more and more people, and may begin to receive spam too.
  4. Use a ?¢‚Ǩ?ìSpam Filter?¢‚Ǩ¬ù
    Many e-mail providers (like Yahoo! and Kabissa) provide a service to filter any e-mails that might be spam into a different folder, or delete them automatically. Although this system is not foolproof, it does help to minimize distracting e-mails. Many e-mail programs (like Outlook or Eudora) also have filters that you can set up yourself, or you can install anti-spam software on your computer.
More excellent tips and explanations of spam and how to avoid it can be found at http://spam.abuse.net/userhelp

Have a newbie question for Mimi? Have comments or answers to share? Send them to mimi@kabissa.org!

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