Spam is unsolicited junk email – generally advertising for some product sent wide-scale to a mailing list or newsgroup. There are a number of ways you can find yourself on a spammer’s email list, including signing up for newsletters that sell lists of their clients’ email addresses, listing your email address on a webpage or newsgroup, or even by choosing an email address that spammers may be able to guess.

First step is to stop your e-mail address getting in the spammers lists. The following will help achieve this.

When listing an e-mail address on public a network such as forums and websites write your address with “at ” instead of @ and put spaces in between sections e.g. yourname@company.com becomes your name at company . com to prevent robots scanning the site and picking up your address.

Setup a free web mail e-mail account like yahoo.  You can use this as a spam sink, whenever you need to give an e-mail address such as filling in a form or signing up for a user logon to a site you can give this address.

An alternative to a web mail account is to sign up for a temporary e-mail account, such as http://www.spamhole.com or http://www.mailexpire.com/.  Choose the name you want and the email address that you want mail forwarded to. Suppose the name you choose is joe. For the next two hours, your email address will be joe@tempaddress.com. All email sent to joe@tempaddress.com will be automatically forwarded to the email address that you gave during signup. Any mail received after the two hours are up will be deleted. By using a temporary email address, you can sign up for stuff all over the Internet without fear that your email address will ever be sold to spammers.

If a spammer has already got your address then you will need to use a mail filter program.  http://www.mailwasher.net/ is a popular free program for windows, MailWasher works directly with your email server, exactly like your email client does. But there is one important difference: you can tell MailWasher to delete a message at the server, without downloading it, or you can bounce an email back to the sender to make the address look invalid.

ThunderbirdFinally you could change you mail client to Thunderbird, http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/ Thunderbird has spam filtering built in and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems.