SimpleNet Q & A : Protecting Your Email Account From Spam

Protecting Your Email Account From Spam

The following article will advise you on the best practices for avoiding spam, what to do when you receive spam, and how to make use of your SimpleNet Email Account to filter spam.

What is spam?

Spam, or Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE), is unwanted email that is delivered to your email address by those trying to advertise various products or web sites to as many people as possible. From your perspective, it's junk email or the equivalent of an unsolicited tele-marketing call while you and your family are trying to have a nice supper. Actually, if you receive a lot of spam, then it's more like getting a hundred tele-marketing calls during supper.

A famous Monty Python skit revolved around a restaurant specializing in dishes involving lots of Spam. A group of Vikings sitting in the corner would sing, "Spam, Spam, Spam, lovely Spam. Wonderful Spam!" drowning out the waitress and all conversation in the restaurant. Since unsolicited email is seen as drowning out all other communication, it made sense to someone to call it spam (with a lowercase "s" to differentiate it from the Hormel meat product).

Why does spam exist?

Spammers send a piece of email to millions of address, expecting that only a small number of readers will respond to the offer or visit the site they are promoting. Spam costs the sender very little to send – most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender.

How do spammers get my email address?

There are quite a few ways that your email address can be obtained, especially if you aren't careful. Spam lists are created by scanning Usenet postings, stealing Internet mailing lists, scanning chat sessions/newsgroups, or searching the Web for addresses. Addresses can also be tracked through registration on various websites, and can be purchased in the form of email lists. Be very careful about where and what type of company you are requesting information from when inputting your email address in an online form. Companies may also use harvesting techniques to search web sites across the Internet for any text with an "@" sign. Finally, some spammers simply put together random combinations of email addresses using common words and names in hopes that they will find legitimate addresses.

How is spam sent?

Most spammers use special software that can send millions of messages in a very short amount of time. They typically use incorrect "reply-to" addresses, so that the message appears to be sent from someone other than the real sender.

How do I protect my email address?

In order to protect your address, we suggest the following:

  • Be careful about where you use your email address

It is a good idea to avoid using your email address in chat rooms or when registering for online services. Refrain from listing your email address on any web sites.

  • Use an alternative email account for newsletters or places that are questionable

Create another email account under your domain name (or a free webmail account with one of various providers) such as spam@ or junkmail@, then forward any valid email received to your actual email address. The benefit of this system is that your address can be eliminated at any time and a new one created.

  • If using your email address to register somewhere, make sure you've read their privacy policy

A privacy policy will inform you about how they will treat your personal information. If there is no privacy policy, inquire about one before registering.

  • Never reply to a spam that you've received

In order to seem as legitimate as possible, spam often includes a "Remove" or "Unsubscribe" link to avoid future mailings. Clicking on these links merely verifies that your email address is valid, which will more often than not result in added spam.

  • Make the most of your spam filters

You likely can't stop spam; you can only hope to make it bearable. Your SimpleNet email account (unless you are a Starter Account) comes with spam options that allow you to trace, filter out, and delete incoming emails.

How does my SimpleNet email account help me to control spam?

All SimpleNet email accounts* allow you to trace, filter out, and delete spam messages coming to your emailbox. The spam check level contains five settings that allow you to alter, from aggressive to permissive, the degree of restriction that you'd prefer on your incoming email. Accounts also contain a white list feature, which allows email from acceptable addresses, and a black list, which rejects email from designated addresses.

*Excluding SimpleNet Starter Email Accounts

How can I assist in the fight against spam?

Anti-spam activists have been lobbying the US government since 1997 for a law against spam. If you're a citizen of the United States, you may join CAUCE, The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, which is an ad hoc, all volunteer organization created by Netizens to advocate a legislative solution to the spam problem.

There are also steps you can take to assist the U.S. Government with the enforcement of existing laws:

  • Spam that is offering products that don't work or don't exist, pyramid schemes, and others can be reported to the US Federal Trade Commission at
  • Spam that promotes stocks can be sent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission at
  • Spam containing or advertising child pornography can be reported as suspected criminal activity to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You can also file child pornography reports with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • Chain letters that ask for money are illegal in the U.S. whether they received by postal mail or email. Report these frauds to your local U.S. Postmaster.

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