I just checked my spam filtering service, and according to their website, 70% of emails passing through their scanners is identified as spam, with a further 3% flagged as viruses. MessageLabs, a leading player in this field has the number slightly lower at around 55% & 0.5% respectively.
Other industry sources, (probably with a vested interest), often report spam figures up around 90%, but even at the most conservative, it’s reasonable to say that at least 1 in every 2 emails sent is spam.
For some people, (the lucky few), this never becomes a problem, but for the rest of us it can be a real pain. So what can you do about it. Well, the easist way to combat spam is to avoid it in the first place. You can do this by being careful with your email address. Don’t put it on forms, (written or online), don’t share on the internet, don;t give it to people unless you know them very well, etc.
Great advice but not always practical. So what else can you do? Here’s 4 simple steps that can help reduce the problem.
1. Do NOT un-subscribe from an email you receive. It just lets the spammer know you exist so you will be inundated with mails
2. If you do have to fill in your email address online, check out the privacy statement on the website.
3. Read the small print before you tick (or leave blank) the box. Some of these forms are very sneaky. Like when they have two paragraphs with tick boxes. Paragraph 1 says ticking the box means you agree to receive mails etc, and paragraqph 2 says ticking the box means I do not want to receive mails. Unless you take the time to read properly you will be added to the list.
4. Implement a spam filter. It can be either a local one, (on your PC or server), or an external one, catching mails before they hit your network, or both. There are pros and cons to both options but at least use something. You will need to monitor it, particularly in the early days, but once it’s been running for a while the amount of monitoring required decreases.
Spam is becoming more and more of an issue for computer users, but there are answers out there. Don’t sit and moan, do something about it.