Some Tips on Avoiding Spam

Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid spam completely, but there are some steps you can take to help reduce the amount of spam you’re likely to receive.

Anchor Web Design employ a number of methods when designing websites that will make it harder for spambots (automatic programs that will scan websites for email addresses) to harvest your email address from your website, but there are also some things you can do to help cut down on spam.

Don’t publicise your email address. Obviously, sometimes this is unavoidable, if you didn’t publicise your address people you want to contact you would not be able to, but avoid publicising your email address unless it is necessary.

Don’t sign up for internet “freebies”. This includes things like greeting cards. Sending people online greeting cards (particularly the free ones) may get your email address on spam lists and the address of the person you’re sending the card to as well. Don’t be tricked into thinking you can win things (like an iPod) by submitting your email address to a website.

Don’t use your “real” email address in online registration forms, message boards, chat rooms, instant message services like MSN or Yahoo Messenger etc. You can create and use a free email service like Hotmail or Gmail for this purpose – this will help to keep any spam generated through these avenues away from your primary email address. Free email addresses are disposable and you can just sign up for a new one if you get fed up.

Try to use an “unguessable” name when creating a new email address. Words like admin@ or info@ or common first names are very easy for spammers to guess. Spammers purchase lists of registered domain names and will then send out hundreds of emails using guessed names for these domains. The harder your email name is to guess, the better chance you have of avoiding this type of spamming method.

Never click on “remove me from this list” or “unsubscribe” options in spam emails. Typically all this will do is confirm that they have a valid email address to continue spamming and sell to other spammers.

Never follow website links in spam messages. This includes emails from “banks”, “ebay”, “paypal” etc. There are many scams going around that will LOOK like they’re from a bank etc, but are actually just copies of the real thing that are designed to harvest not just your email address but sensitive information like account numbers and passwords. If you get emails from services like those listed above, the first thing to check is if they’ve used your full name, your bank etc will ALWAYS personalise their emails, they will never write to “dear customer” etc.