About Spam

If you’ve had your email address for any length of time, chances are you get spam in your inbox. Spam emails make up the largest part of Internet traffic.

It has been estimated that nearly one third of the world’s computers are infected with some sort of malware.  Many of these are running unsolicited “bots” whose purpose is to “pump and dump” millions of spam email messages every day.

Some effective free or low cost methods for controlling Spam:

A note about spam filtering

Spam filters typically move suspected junk mail to a “spam” or “junk” folder in your email box. The filtering is effective but imperfect. The best will catch 95% or more of spam messages but some will always be missed and there will always be false positives. It’s important to frequently check your Junk folder for valid email, and to regularly delete the junk. You will also still have to delete the occasional junk message that evades the spam filter.

Some spam control methods

Change your email address

Spammers send junk mail to lists of email addresses collected from various sources over time. If you change your email you’ll fall off the spammers’ list for a while. For example, if your email address is john@email.com, simply changing it to john2@email.com will stop the spammers cold until your new email makes it onto their list.

To delay your new email getting onto another spammer’s list, avoid posting your email address in news groups and web pages or disguise your address from “bots” searching for addresses. For example, don’t post your email as john@email.com, use something like john(at)email.com, or john@_NOSPAM_email.com. Either of these methods will stop a bot but will still allow a human reader to decipher your address.

Use Microsoft Outlook version 2013 or later

If you have Office 2007 or later on your computer make use of Outlook’s powerful and effective spam filters. Be sure to visit http://officeupdate.microsoft.com and click “check for free updates” to get the latest filters at no charge.

Use Mozilla Thunderbird

Thunderbird is a powerful and free email program from the Mozilla foundation. Thunderbird has great spam filtering and mail handling but it lacks Outlook’s Calendar and Task List capabilities. If all you want is an email program then Thunderbird is for you. Free download at http://www.mozilla.com.

Use a software-based spam filter

There are a number of commercial anti-spam products that install themselves into Microsoft Outlook including those from Grisoft, McAfee and Symantec. This page does not review or comment on those, focusing instead on free or low cost spam solutions. One place to research commercial products is at http://www.pcmag.com, search for antispam.

Recommendation for Non-Profits

Techsoup.org provides software to non-profit organizations at very low prices, sometimes free. ALL non-profits should register with Techsoup if they have not done so. Periodically an email will come about a special offer. For example, Techsoup offered a one day special for FREE Mailshell anti-spam software. Unless you are pre-registered with Techsoup you probably would not be able to take advantage of this offer. Techsoup also offers an amazingly good price on Microsoft Office for a small administrative fee. We encourage you to browse Techsoup’s web site to see what is available. Highly recommended.

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