Readers Questions – E-mail Spam

Once again I’ll take the take out this week to help out with any problems that my readers have been experiencing.

I usually read your column in the Herald Express and have a problem I wondered if you could help me with as I am now receiving what I can only describe as unsolicited dirty emails.

Some time ago we thought of starting a small business selling quit smoking kits and someone suggested putting an advert on the ‘FFA’ sites.  We have since given up the idea of a business but do wonder that if by going onto these sites people are ‘selling’ our email address.

Up to now, I have dealt with the dozen or so daily unwanted emails by ‘blocking’ them, but they are increasing and I really don’t have the time to unblock every one.  Also, sometimes the same ones appear again under a different address,

What I would like to know is: –

1. Is there a way of stopping these emails coming through, perhaps by only ‘accepting’ ones from people in my address book?

2. If someone new wishes to send us an email and we are agreeable, if we add their email address to our address book will this mean that their emails will then be able to come through?

I am currently using Windows ME, and Microsoft Outlook 5.I shall be grateful if you could please help.Rose Griffiths, via e-mail.

This is a common problem amongst the majority of Internet users and I still maintain that the most effective way of not receiving junk e-mail (spam) is to be wary about who you actually give your e-mail address to in the first instance.This obviously isn’t much use to you Rose at this stage but for the benefit of my other readers I will start by telling you all to sign up for a second e-mail address.Then if you’re on a website that you don’t trust to handle your e-mail address is an appropriate way or if you’re submitting a website to the search engines and FFA sites, you can always use this alternative address.

When I was submitting my website to the search engines I began receiving around a hundred junk e-mail messages a day but one of the conditions with these services is that you are obliged to provide a working e-mail address and so I opened a free Hotmail account then gave that to the FFA sites so now I just check my alternative mailbox every couple of weeks in order to delete all the unwanted messages.

For those of you who find yourselves on a list that is regularly being spammed, the process to get yourself removed from these lists is somewhat more complicated than you’d imagine.Most mailings come with a link so that you can ‘remove’ yourself from their list but in the case of the rouge mailers this is quite often just a red herring.If you attempt to remove yourself from the list then they know that your e-mail address is active so it is likely you will actually receive more mailings!

The best bet is to either change your e-mail address and inform only the people you actually want to be able to contact you or get hold of a free program that will sit and actually monitor every incoming e-mail and will remove those it considers to be spam.One product that particularly caught my eye is Mailwasher (www.mailwasher.net) as this program has many unique features such as the ability to accept e-mails from recognised addresses only, it refuses e-mails from known ‘spammers’, it can read the e-mail and attempt to assess whether it is junk or not and you can also view and delete e-mails on the main server before you download them in order to save wasting time downloading junk.
Any mail that is deemed to be junk mail can then be ‘bounced’ back to the sender to make it appear that your e-mail address was invalid which would hopefully mean they’d remove you from their lists.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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