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How to Deal With Junk Email and Spam

How to Deal With Junk Email and Spam

Every single one of us has been exposed to unsolicited emails and spam.  It can be quite frustrating to sift through dozens or even hundreds of emails to get to the ones that are important to us.  A great deal of your time can be wasted dealing with junk mail and productivity takes a nose dive.  So what can we do about it?  Well dear reader…  Lets take a closer look at what spam is and let me show you how you can avoid the majority of it.

First of all – What is spam?

Spam emails are emails sent to you without your consent. It is email that you don’t want and didn’t ask for, and generally the content can be inappropriate, misleading or even harmful for your computer. 

How did they get my email?

Spam email can be sent to millions of people at the same time and in many cases your email address was just guessed.  This will generally be the case where the email has come from overseas.  If the email was sent within your country, then it is possible that you may have registered your email address with a particular company or service and they are sending the emails.

What can I do if I’m getting unwanted emails?

If you receive marketing by email that you don’t want from an identifiable and legitimate local company that you know and trust, you should first use the ‘unsubscribe’ link or email the organisation to ask them to stop (remembering to keep a copy of any correspondence). 

 Legitimate, well-known companies will offer opt-outs, and in many cases things can be resolved quickly without having to get an authority involved. 

However, if you are not sure whether the email is genuine, or if it comes from a company you do not recognise, you should avoid replying or clicking on any link as this might confirm your email is live.

If you continue to receive unsolicited marketing emails despite following this advice, then please report it to Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

What can I do to reduce the amount of spam emails I receive?

  • Be careful who you give your email address to. 
  • Consider having separate personal and business email addresses. 
  • Choose an email address which is difficult to guess. 
  • Don’t advertise your email address, for example by putting it on the internet. 
  • Check privacy policies and marketing opt-outs carefully. Use them to tell the organisation not to send you emails. 
  • Avoid responding to spam emails if you have any doubts about who has sent them. Replying indicates that your email address is live. You should not reply to emails unless you know and trust the sender, and are confident the email is genuine. 
  • If you do receive unwanted emails from a legitimate, known company, click on the “opt-out” or “unsubscribe” link that is usually at the bottom of the email. 
  • Don’t click on the ads or links in spam emails. By clicking on spammers’ web pages, it shows your email address is live and may make yourself a target for more emails. It can also reveal your computer’s IP address. 
  • Use a spam email filter on your computer. These are programs which will sift through new emails, separating spam from wanted emails and then block them. Most packages are successful although sometimes block good email too. 
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) also offer filters which work by examining content and using blacklists to restrict spam emails. Again, these sometimes block good emails as well as spam emails and you might have to pay for them. For more information on the services that are available to you, please check with your ISP. 
  • Keep your systems well maintained. Hackers and spammers can exploit software problems, so most software companies issue product updates and patches that fix known problems. Updates are generally available through manufacturers’ websites and are usually free to download and install. 
  • Use anti-virus software to protect against virus programs that can destroy computer files.  Spam emails are increasingly being used by hackers to enter your computer. 
  • Check privacy policies and marketing opt-outs carefully. If you buy something online or subscribe to a service, check the company’s privacy policy before giving your email address or any other private information. Consider how the company uses your information and whether they might send it to other people within their organisation or to other organisations.