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Block Spam

There are several software programs designed to block spam so that users never encounter it.

A high percentage of all email messages are spam. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
A high percentage of all email messages are spam.

Block Spam

Every email user would love to block spam from hitting their inbox. However, with people posting their email addresses on public forums or websites; spammers have an endless supply of addresses to collect and spam every day. Then there are the unsolicited emails that, while not requested by the recipient, are not considered spam. Kaspersky Lab states that there is a big difference between spam and unsolicited emails. Emails sent in bulk or sent anonymously are characterized as spam. Emails sent from a company that the recipient recently did business with and are addressed to a specific email address are not spam. The key is to block the unwanted emails from the wanted emails.

Email Filters

Email filters are a good way to block spam from entering the inbox. Many popular email programs such as Outlook and Yahoo Mail offer filtering options. Microsoft claims that their email filtering program can block up to 95 percent of spam messages. Microsoft has integrated spam filtering into Outlook, Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Mail and Windows Mail. The Microsoft filter works by automatically sending any emails that meet Microsoft's predetermined definition of spam to the junk folder. Users can still access the mail, but links and harmful components will be disabled.

Many of the popular email programs such as Yahoo Mail use their own algorithms to determine if received emails are spam. This means that many spam mails will go to a special spam folder, but it also means that some wanted emails might also end up in the spam folder. By utilizing the filter, a user can add acceptable email addresses so that the email program puts mail from those addresses into the inbox. Email users can set up their filtering preferences in their email control or administrative panel.

Disposable Email Services

Disposable email addresses disappear after a specified amount of time. There are many online companies offering disposable email address services for times when a person needs an email address for forum registration or other quick sign up. For example, at SneakeMail users create an account and the service creates a new email address at each request. The service than reroutes the mail to make it look like it is from the Sneakemail account and the company or forum never gets the users true email address. If the Sneakemail email box fills up with spam, the user can delete it and get a new address. Other companies give users just a few hours to check mail, automatically deleting the email address when time is up.

Challenge Response Services

Small Business Computing recommends a variety of different spam stoppers. One service is the challenge/response solution which monitors incoming emails by asking senders to verify that they are legitimate senders to the email address. This is a great option for someone receiving huge amounts of spam, even with email filtering in place. One downside to this form of spam prevention is if a user signs up for a newsletter or other mass emailed information, and the sender does not bother with the verification process. Many of these services offer a free trial, but most charge a fee for continued service.

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