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What is spam?

Spam is a popular term for junk mail, i.e., e-mail containing information that you do not really want to receive. Examples include unsolicited messages, advertisements, chain letters, and hoaxes.

How did spammers get my e-mail address?

There are a variety of ways in which spammers (people who send spam) get e-mail addresses. Spammers compile mailing lists by scanning discussion groups and web sites, buying a mailing list, or randomly guessing your e-mail address. Sometimes the recipients of spam also disclose their e-mail addresses by filling out online forms or providing their e-mail address online in other ways.


Ten Ways to Avoid Spam


Maintain at least two email addresses. You should use your private address only for personal correspondence(i.e. your UG e-mail address). The public address should be the one you use to register on public forums, in chat rooms, to subscribe to mailing lists etc.


Never publish your private address on publicly accessible resources.


Your private address should be difficult to spoof. Spammers use combinations of obvious names, words and numbers to build possible addresses. Your private address should not simply be your first and last name. Be creative and personalize your email address.


If you have to publish your private address electronically, mask it to avoid having it harvested by spammers. is easy to harvest, as is Joe.Smith at Try writing Joe-dot-Smith-at-yahoo-dot-com instead. If you need to publish your private address on a web-site, do this as a graphics file rather than as a link.


Treat your public address as a temporary one. Chances are high that spammers will harvest your public address fairly quickly. Don't be afraid to change it often.


Always use your public address to register in forums, chat rooms and to subscribe to mailing lists and promotions. You might even consider using a number of public addresses in order to trace which services are selling addresses to spammers.


Never respond to spam. Most spammers verify receipt and log responses. The more you respond, the more spam you will receive.


Do not click on unsubscribe links from questionable sources. Spammers send fake unsubscribe letters in an attempt to collect active addresses. You certainly don't want to have your address tagged as active, do you? It will just increase the amount of spam you receive.


If your private address is discovered by spammers - change it. This can be inconvenient, but changing your email address does help you avoid spam - at least for a while!


Make sure that your mail is filtered by an antispam solution. Consider installing a personal antispam solution. Only open email accounts with providers who offer spam filtration prior to mail delivery.

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