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What is Junk Mail?

Tips on how to control it!

It clogs your inbox, wastes your time, and is just plain annoying. The culprit? Junk e-mail also known as "spam" or "unsolicited e-mail." Solicitations range from legitimate commercial offers to get-rich-quick schemes and links to Web sites with adult content. There are ways to manage and cut down on spam, however. Get started now with these tips.

  1. Set your filters. Use an Internet service provider (ISP) with advanced junk-mail filters to keep out spam while helping to ensure you don't lose important messages. Look for ISPs that offer easy-to-use, customizable settings that allow you to choose your level of protection.

  2. Be careful about disclosing your e-mail address. Junk mail gets to your inbox several ways. Some spammers send e-mail to random variations of e-mail addresses. Others buy address lists from Web sites where you registered or entered a contest that required you to give your e-mail address. Spammers can obtain your address from Internet white pages listings, guest books, newsgroups, resume postings, and chat rooms, too.

  3. Help protect your privacy. If you plan to register at a Web site or enter a contest, check the site's privacy policy and terms of use statement. If the Web site doesn't explain how they use your information, reconsider registering your e-mail address and sharing other personal information.

  4. Don't reply. Answering spam, even to "unsubscribe," just confirms your e-mail address is valid. Spammers usually ignore your wish to unsubscribe and add your e-mail address to their list. Then they send more spam and/or sell their list, creating more junk mail. Your best bet is to simply delete the spam messages from your inbox.

  5. Forward spam to the originating ISP. Check the e-mail header information to see what Internet domain the spam came from. If it came from msn.com, forward the entire e-mail, with headers, to abuse@msn.com. If the spam originated from another ISP, forward it directly to the postmaster or abuse alias at that ISP.

  6. Stay updated. Learn about the latest news, software, and legislation related to controlling spam online. TRUSTe (http://www.truste.org) is an independent organization dedicated to building consumer trust and confidence in the Internet. Or visit CAUCE, (http://www.cauce.org/) the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email.


While there isn't a way to totally stop receiving spam in your mailbox, by following these tips you can better control the e-mail messages that you do receive.


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