Spammers use automated routines to "harvest" e-mail addresses off the Internet. To help keep your e-mail off spam lists, there are a number of things you can do. First, try to avoid posting your e-mail address on any web site or chat room, even personal web sites. Here are some additional tips to minimize your chances of being targeted for spam:
- Do not reply to spam. Just delete the message without opening it. If you accidentally open the message, do not click the "unsubscribe" or "click here to get off our list" links. These links let the spammer know that you opened and read the message.
- Do not disable the security settings of Internet Explorer or your e-mail program.
- Use a separate e-mail for online shopping and other web sites that ask for an e-mail address to log in or set up an account. You can set up a free e-mail account on sites such as Yahoo!, Hotmail or Google. This may not stop spam, but this way it will go into an account that you can abandon if you start to get more spam than legitimate mail.
- If you must post your e-mail address on a web site, consider doing it in a way that is human-readable, but not easily machine-readable. This is called "address munging." There are two common techniques for address munging.
- Attach the e-mail address to your web site as a picture file, not as text.
- Insert obvious characters into the e-mail address that a human can interpret but that will confuse a computer. For example, instead of "firstname.lastname@example.org", enter "my.name at domain.com."