Receiving a lot of spam makes it harder to sort out the wheat from the chaff and find your genuine emails. Spam also presents security risks and may contain obscene material – spammers send out literally billions of emails, they don’t care if the recipient is a child.
How To Stop Spam Getting Worse? Unfortunately, once your email address is ‘out there’ you can’t stop spammers targeting it but there are 2 golden rules to stop it becoming even worse: Never reply to spam emails to complain about them as that just confirms to the spammer that your email address is genuine and active – they will then target it even more.
Secondly, don’t publicize your email address on the internet – it may be mandatory to use it when submitting comments on sites like ours but we never publish your email address. Never put your email address within the text of your actual comment e.g. asking other readers to contact you – spammers trawl the internet for email addresses so the more you publish yours, the more spam you may receive in future.
Tip: these rules may stop the level of spam increasing but they will not reduce the number you currently receive. If you get hundreds of spam emails per day then your email address is hopelessly compromised – unless it’s a business email address that you must keep, you should change to a new email address (start from a clean slate) and then follow the rules above to minimize spam in future.
How To Filter or Block Spam?
Filtering: Some antivirus packages and email programs include a basic filter to send suspected spam to a spambox/folder instead of your inbox after it has been downloaded onto your computer. However, filtering has 2 problems:
- Spam email is downloaded in full, wasting your internet bandwidth and slowing it down, especially if it includes large attachments.
- When reviewing suspected spam you may unwittingly open the email and be infected by a virus or see adult material.
Blocking: A spam blocker blocks spam before it is downloaded onto your computer, learns which emails are spam, allows you to delete them and solves the 2 problems that spam filtering suffers from:
- It only downloads email headers (who it’s from, the subject and the size) not the full email and attachments so it saves internet bandwidth and doesn’t slow it down.
- Even if you choose to preview (look at the text) of an email, it still doesn’t download the full email so you won’t encounter viruses or objectionable pictures/videos.
The best free spam blocker we have seen is Mailwasher Free which you can download here. The program features and benefits are clearly listed on the website and it works with all email programs under XP, Vista and Windows 7 or 8.
The free version only blocks spam for 1 email account on a computer – if you want to check more email accounts then you need the Pro version costing about $30.
A spam blocker like Mailwasher is also essential if you have very slow (non-broadband) internet access and are sent an unwelcome large attachment that could take hours to download before you can delete it. Using Mailwasher you can see how large the attachment is and delete the email immediately without having to download it first.