Watch out for Spam

Spam floods the Internet with multiple copies of the same message — forcing that message on people who do not want it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. Spam costs the sender very little to send — most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.

Email spam targets individual users with direct mail messages. Email spam lists are often created by scanning forum postings, stealing Internet mailing lists, or searching the Web for addresses. They use automated programs called spambots to scour websites looking for email addresses to add to their lists. If they find an email address, they will lift the address. I found this out the hard way. My email has been stolen and I will have to use a different address soon. Once an address has been stolen by spammers, there's no way to get them to un-steal it. I want to share some ideas on how you can prevent this from happening to you.

  • Do not include your email address on your Webpage.
  • Never reply to spam messages, even when they entice you to reply to remove you from their mailing lists. Often the instructions are either bogus or a way to collect more addresses. Sometimes spam looks so real that it is difficult to know if it is from your bank, your eBay account, Paypal, etc. Replying confirms to the spammers that your e-mail address is active, and you will receive even more junk mail.
  • Confirm if the Spam is real or not. I receive loads of email from eBay even though I am not auctioning anything right now. So what I did was pass my cursor over either the From: email account or any link in the message (I don't click on any of the links!). This is a portion of the URL that is supposedly from eBay:

Notice there is no domain and it lists .dll. A .dll extension is like .exe - do not click on an address that has either of these extensions!

  • Spell out your email address. This is one way to get around the spambots.
  • Spambots can figure out the address if you use (at) so you can add dashes before and after the (at) i.e. barbara-(at)
  • Make an image of the @ sign and use that with your displayed email address.
  • There are other ways to prevent spam if you are willing to do a little work yourself: javascripting or creating contact forms. Go to Stopping Spam to the bottom of the page for instructions. Also see Anti-Spam Tips.

Next Tip: Free Website Editor