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How To Protect Yourself From SPAM

In this day and age of the internet, it's almost impossible to go through life without getting some SPAM in your inbox.

Considering this fact of life, this is welcome news: Where Have All the Spambots Gone?

The volume of junk email flooding inboxes each day is way down from a year ago, as much as a 90 percent decrease according to some estimates. Symantec reports that spam volumes hit their high mark in July 2010, when junk email purveyors were blasting in excess of 225 billion spam messages per day. The company says daily spam volumes now hover between 25 and 50 billion missives daily. Anti-spam experts from Cisco Systems are tracking a similarly precipitous decline, from 300 billion per day in June 2010 to just 40 billion in June 2011.

Now don't get too excited! SPAM is still a problem. Here's a few quick tips to help:

1) Don't open any emails you know to be SPAM. I'm talking about the obvious ones of course, but it's just good practice to not open anything that looks even remotely suspicious. Most SPAM out there is literally just junk mail, but occasionally you'll find something malicious inside. Best bet is to just keep it "Unread."

2) Find yourself a good anti-SPAM filter. This can depend on where your email is hosted. Gmail, for example, has a great built in SPAM filter. My personal email address is Gmail and I hardly ever get SPAM in my inbox. Many other webmail based email systems have a built in SPAM filter that usually works OK. But if you need something extra, there are a few options. If this is a corporate email server (where the company hosts its own Exchange server in-house), you can use a third party hosted solution like MxToolbox or an add on service you install on the server like Cloudmark.

For personal email, Cloudmark also makes an Outlook add-in that is decent and works well. In many cases, your ISP (internet service provider ie: Comcast) will provide some SPAM filtering at the server level for you (you never see this as it's on the back end). Most webmail based email (like Yahoo/Gmail/Hotmail for example) allow you to manually add single emails or whole domains to a "blacklist" or "whitelist." A "blacklist" is any email address (joe@website.com) or an entire domain (*@website.com) to be blocked no matter what. A "whitelist" is the opposite. It will allow any email address or domain through to your inbox, even if it fits the normal characteristics of a SPAM email.

3) If all hope is lost and you have no control what so ever over the SPAM, break down and get a new email address. I'm partial to Gmail, but anything will do if your old email address is a lost cause. This is a total worst case scenario, but I've known people that have had to do this as a last resort (in many cases, their email was hacked). Luckily, suggestions # 1 and # 2 will help you gain control 99% of the time.

If you have a SPAM story or any questions you'd like to ask, feel free to add a comment below. As always, if you're in need of professional assistance, remember you can always contact us for help. See you next time!

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