Preventing spam from getting into your mailbox is a very difficult task. Due to its ever-changing nature, most spam filtering measures eventually fail to block latest variations. However, there are some things you can do to help:
- You can set the mail server to bounce mail delivery to unknown addresses at your domain. This is quite helpful if you are receiving spam to random names at your domain (a common spammer practice). This behavior is enabled by default.
- If you are receiving a lot of spam to a particular account, you could change the POP3 account name and any mail to the old name would bounce if you do the bounce-no-mailbox setting mentioned above. This is obviously not good if you have a well known address that you rely on.
- If you are receiving a lot of junk mail of a common theme, or you wish to block a specific address or domain, you may be able to set filters to automatically send the spam to the trash. This can help a lot, but you do have to maintain the filter list. The advantage is that you can keep the trash around and then scan through it before deleting in case your filters are picking up any legitimate messages.
- Do not publish your email address in any way that a script could read just by crawling across your web site. Spammers often use scripts that look for any evidence of an email address. You can get around a variety of ways, but the easiest is to make an image of your email address, and use that instead of actually typing the address out. For similar reasons, never create a link to send you an email on your site; doing so means you still put the email address in the code where anyone can see it. "Contact Us" forms are a better route in this sort of situation.
- If you do need to provide an email address to a lot of websites or other people you do not personally know, set up a free account at one of the many free email providers. Use this account as a "false front" when filling out forms on the web, or sending initial letters of inquiry.
- The false front will usually turn into a useless spam magnet after a while, but until then it does attract a lot of junk mail that would otherwise end up in your personal mail box. Once your free account is rendered useless, abandon it and start using another. (Remember, you didn't hear this one from us!)
- Never respond to spam. At best, nothing will happen; at worst, you just confirmed that your address is read by a human being, and is fair game for any other number of junk messages.
- Finally, you can report spam to sites such as SpamCops or the Real Time Blackhole list.