How to avoid spam - Information Technology Services

How to avoid spam

Spam is unsolicited commercial email, the electronic equivalent of the junk mail that comes through letterbox.  The chances that you have had emails offering you drugs without a prescription or loans, or get-rich-quick schemes - sometimes cleverly disguised to look like personal email.  All they do is clutter your inboxes and distract you from more important messages.

List below are tips on how you can avoid receiving more of this spam emails.

1.  Use anti-spam software and email filters
Anti-spam software can reduce unwanted email, especially if it uses your feedback to "learn" which mails are spam.  ITS uses a Spam filter software called Amavisd at the mail gateway. This in turn feeds each mail message through anti-Spam software called SPAM ASSASSIN.  Spam Assassin uses a number of mechanisms to give each message a score based on many attributes often found in Spam email. The messages are also checked against online databases on well-known spammers. 88% of spam mails are deleted by the spam filter whilst 12-15% of them are tagged as ***SPAM*** and delivered to your email Inbox. Click here for instructions on how to manage these messages effectively using the mail filter in your email program.

2.  Never make a purchase from unsolicited email
By making a purchase, you are funding future spam.  Your email address may also be added to lists that are sold to other spammers

3.  If you don't know the sender, delete the email
Most spam is just a nuisance, but sometimes it can contain a virus that damages the computer when the email is opened.

4.  Never respond to spam or click on links in it
If you reply to spam - even to unsubscribe from the mailing list - you confirm that your email address is a valid one, so encouraging more spam.

5.  Opt out of further information or offers
When you fill out forms on websites, look for the checkbox that lets you choose whether to accept further information or offers.  Tick or un-tick the box as appropriate.

6.  Don't use the "preview" mode in your email viewer
Many spammers can track when a message is viewed, even if you don't click on the email.  The preview setting effectively opens the email and lets spammers know that you receive their messages.  When you check your email, try to decide whether it is spam on the basis of the subject line only.

7.  Use the "bcc" field if you email many people at once
The "bcc" or blind copy field hides the list of recipients from other users.  If you put the addresses in the "To" field, spammers may harvest them and add them to mailing lists.

8.  Never provide your email address on the internet
Don't publish your email address on websites, newsgroup lists or other online public forums.  Spammers use programs that surf the internet to find addresses in such places. (Please note that email addresses published on the USP website is safe from spammers due to the enforcements of security features.)

9.  Only give your main email address to people you trust
Give your main email address only to friends and colleagues.

10. Use one or two "secondary" email addresses
If you fill out web registration forms or surveys on sites from which you don't want further information, use a secondary email address.  This secondary email address can be created from any of the free email service providers such as yahoo mail or hotmail website.  This protects your main (work email)address from spam.

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