Keeping Your E-Mail Box Litter-Free

Put a stop to "spammers" and their annoying solicitations

Is your e-mail box full of clutter? If so, join the club. The ability to send free mass mailings to countless virtual mailboxes has attracted
Internet advertisers like insects to light. It’s a direct marketers dream–the recipient pays for the “postage.” Although there’s no way to completely prevent being accosted by these annoyances, here are a couple of tips to keep your mailbox reasonably litter-free.

Many “spammers,” as these mass e-mail marketers are called, get their addressees from unsuspecting participants in the culture of the Net. Newsgroups are a particularly ripe source of e-mail addresses. Most people who post include an address for personal responses that can be easily read by anyone. But there are several ways to prevent giving out yours.

Have multiple e-mail addresses. This may sound excessive, but you can subscribe to Juno (800-654-5866) or FreeMark (212-207-9275) for a free email account. Once you have the extra account, you can use it for newsgroups and other places in cyberspace where your address may be compromised. E-maul directories and automated mailing lists are also treasure chests of e-mail addresses for marketers. By using more than one address, you can screen your mail in your secondary e-mail account and, therefore, keep your primary address uncluttered for meaningful correspondence.

Use an e-mail filter. Many e-mail filtering programs allow the user to exclude any addresses that are part of an “OK” list. Many can also be set up to disallow messages from known spammers. Unfortunately, marketers change addresses all the time, so you have to be on your toes to make this work well.

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