Some 'Magic Bullets' for stopping junk e-mail
With apologies and regards to Rob Rosenberger, whom I'm paraphrasing. Each MP3 file linked here is roughly one minute long or less, and the largest is 474 KB.
Experts will tell you there are no 'magic bullets' to stop spam. Yet there are some magic bullets. For example:
- Complain to the spammer's Internet Provider, or use a service that complains for you.
Nearly every Internet provider has an acceptable use policy forbidding spam. If they don't, their backbone provider does. This is still the single most effective way to stop spam, because it stops the spammer. Remember to be polite and respectful. The person you're complaining to didn't mean to send you the spam.
Very few e-mail users have the technical savvy to determine where a spam message came from. However, those who have the technical savvy are glad to help. Services like spamcop and adcomplain are available solely to help average users direct spam complaints in the right direction. Internet providers, interested in reducing their own spam intake, are also usually glad to help. Over time, however, they want you to learn how to do this yourself. It's not as hard as you think.
- Use a mail provider that supports a 'whitelist.'
A whitelist is a list of e-mail addresses you specify, whose owners are allowed to send you e-mail. No one else may send you e-mail and those senders could be bounced at the e-mail gateway or by your own client software.
This is perhaps the most effective, though the most drastic, measure you can use to stop junk e-mailers. It also has the effect of stopping e-mail from non-spammers whose addresses don't happen to be on your whitelist. However, it's the best way to maximize your e-mail resources with senders with whom you have an existing relationship, and still make your address publicly known.
- Think about who you're giving your e-mail address to.
Especially be careful of paper forms. Banks don't need your e-mail address to give you a loan or other account. Businesses who run reward programs for customer loyalty don't need your e-mail address to enroll you in their program.
- The United States Federal Trade Commission wants your spam.
If you know how to forward an e-mail message as an attachment, or know how to copy all of an e-mail message's headers into another e-mail, the US FTC will investigate your spam for you. Send it to email@example.com.
The FTC needs the whole, unaltered message to investigate, and most e-mail programs that support forwarding have a 'forward as attachment' feature, making complaining about spam a snap.
While the FTC spam complaint address is only good for American citizens, it has encouraged other nations to act. Brazil's .br domain registry also has a spam complaint address.
- Take the Boulder Pledge.
Roger Ebert first published this in Yahoo! Internet Life in 1996, and its sentiment still rings true today. Recite this to yourself and others, and you'll remove the real reason why spam exists.
"Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited email message. Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community."
Now go tell your friends, um, but maybe not through e-mail.