If, like me, you already get too much unsolicited email, I have some tips that can help you avoid the hassle.
- Become a Moving Target. - This is probably the one most effective method of warding off the spammers. If you don't give out your primary email address except to trusted individuals and organizations you can keep a nice clean mailbox. Our Email Guide, Heinz, can give you some links to free email accounts. You can sign up for one and use that address when you think you may be exposed to junk email. When you do start getting too much spam to that account just cancel it and get another. You should also use a disposable account if you post messages to the Internet news groups. Spammers often use software that searches newsgroups for email addresses.
- Just Say NO to Work at Home Scams. - There may be a few legitimate work at home companies, but there are many that are fly-by-night schemes. In my opinion these schemes are one of the biggest nuisances on the Net. If these guys get your email address and think that you may be enough of a sucker to fall for their "once in a lifetime" deals, you get unending junk email. The best way to avoid these jokers is by learning to recognize them. If you come to a web page that is one big sign in a large font that tells you about this great deal, avoid it. If you see anything that you could translate to "get rich quick" -- avoid it.
- Name Rank and Serial Number. - If you are signing up for a freebie or registering for anything on the Net only give the information that is needed. If a site is asking for more information than seems reasonable for the type of offer then either use trick number 1 above, leave out the excess info, or just avoid it. If it looks like they are trying to qualify you for a targeted mailing list they probably are. Also, never give out your phone number on the Net unless there is a very good reason. Junk email is bad enough, unsolicited phone calls we really don't need. I always enter "UL" for unlisted or I give them a "555" number. If they can't send me a freebie without a phone number, I don't want it.
- Check that Box.. - Many registration forms have a check box that allows you to indicate if you don't (or do) want email sent to you. If you want to avoid junk email, be sure to make your wishes known. In most cases the default is equivalent to saying "yes I want junk email". Just say no.
With a little caution, a little common sense, and a few tricks, you can avoid a lot of unwanted email. Happy and "junk email free" freebie hunting!