What are spam emails?


Spam is an unsolicited email you can receive to your email inbox. They are similar to the junk mail delivered via your letterbox at home. 


Where do these spammers get my email address from?


Spammers usually get your email address when you:

  • Post to a newsgroup/blog that require an email address.
  • Sign up for an internet service that asks for an email address.
  • Display your email address on your own website.
  • Provide your address to an online retailer.


You host my emails, can you not do something to prevent this?


We take every step possible to limit spam by using the best available defence in the industry such as:


1. Using SpamAssassin on our Mailservers.


2. We use DNSBL's to help protect our clients from being victims of unsolicited emails.

However, since these systems work purely on algorithms and machine learning principles, sometimes occasionally they do not give desired results.   We have found the best anti-spam measure is to be a bit careful about the way you use your email account.

 

  • Ensure the email marketing preference on the terms & conditions on any website that you agree to  is an 'opt-out' and not an 'opt-in' one. Websites may  have this option automatically ticked to accept email notifications.  Where possible try not to opt in to email notifications

                                    

An "opt-in" generally refers to a tick box which, if filled in by the user, indicates positively that they would like to be contacted by a particular form of communication. Unless the user ticks the box then the organisation cannot use their details for the form of marketing listed. This is in contrast with an "opt-out", where the default position is that the user will be contacted by that form of marketing, unless they tick the box to indicate that they would prefer not to be. The benefits of opt-out over opt-in are clear – where the default position presumes the right to market, and requires no further action by the recipient, average collection rates are considerably higher, meaning more emails can be sent to more people.



  • Avoid ‘unsubscribe’ options. Occasionally spammers will include an ‘unsubscribe’ link. By clicking this link, it will confirm that your email address is active and you may attract even more spam by doing this.

    Spammers do not honour unsubscribe requests.  In fact, many use unsubscribe requests as a way to identify which of the millions of email  addresses that they’re using actually belong to real people.

    Those email addresses are more valuable and as a result, they will then get more spam.

    There is a very, important distinction to be made here:


  • Do not use the unsubscribe links in emails that you don’t recognise or are obviously spam.


  • Do use unsubscribe links from reputable providers, such as people you know and mailing lists that you signed up to join.


  • Use a disposable email address. You could set up a disposable email address especially for buying online or writing to newsgroups. If you find that you are getting a lot of spam at this address, you can simply delete it and set up another.


  • Be wary about giving out your main email address. If in doubt, it is a good idea to use a disposable address (see above).


  • Never reveal your email address on your website. If you have a website, putting your email address makes it easier for spammers to gather your information. You could use a web contact form instead.


  • Munging. A simple but effective technique where you present your address in a way that people can easily work out but which will fool spambots. They will look for a pattern, such as a@b.com. Writing the address as ‘a at b dot com’ would probably evade them. You can also use an image as your email address i.e instead of displaying your address on your website as a@b.com, display it as an image so that the technology the spammers use do not recognise it as an email address.


Train the spam filter on your email client

The default spam filter offered by most email services or programs is typically relatively good.

However,  you can, and should, make it better.


You can help to do this by telling the service or program every time that you find spam in your inbox. When you see a spam email in your inbox, click the tick box next to it in the list of emails, and then click the Junk dropdown under Home tab in Outlook.


Then click Report Junk. The message will be moved to your spam folder.


By doing this, you are telling the mail server that messages like this are spam. The server will then take this information and use it to refine its spam filter to get better at automatically detecting spam in the future. This could be either globally if enough other people say the same things about emails like that, or perhaps just for you if the system’s spam filter supports that level of personalisation.


If you do this each time you receive a spam email, you should find that over time the amount of spam you receive should decrease – perhaps dramatically!