Also from the FTC are some very good tips on combatting SPAM (unsolicited and annoying email).
From the "FTC Consumer Feature," Putting a Lid on Deceptive Spam, published July 2002 and available at:
The FTC’s advice to consumers who want to reduce the amount of spam they get is:
- Avoid displaying your email address in public spaces, including newsgroup postings or chat rooms, on websites, or in an online service’s membership directory.
- Read and understand website forms before you transmit personal information. If possible, select the “opt-out” choice if the website plans to share your information.
- Create two email addresses – one for personal messages and the other for public use, such as in newsgroups or chat rooms. Or, consider a disposable email address service; it creates a separate email address that forwards your email to your permanent address. If the disposable address begins to receive spam, you can shut if off without affecting the permanent address. **(see Spamino information below!)
- Create a unique email address. Spammers often use “dictionary attacks” to sort through possible name combinations at large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or email services to find valid addresses. So a common name, like “jdoe,” may get more spam than a unique name, like “jd51x02oe.”
- Use an email filter. Some email accounts provide a tool to filter out potential spam or channel it to a bulk email folder. You may want to ask whether this option is available when choosing an ISP.
- Report the spam to the ISP – yours and the sender’s. Often the email address is “abuse@[your ISP’s name].com” or postmaster@[your ISP’s name].com. The ISP may be able to stop further spam.
- Report the problem to the FTC. Send the actual spam item to email@example.com. Be sure to include the full email header so that your complaint can be followed up. If your complaint has to do with “remove me” or “unsubscribe” offers not working, complete and submit the FTC’s complaint form at www.ftc.gov.
- For more on spam and how to avoid it, visit www.ftc.gov/spam.
** For a "disposable" email address, check out "Spamino"! From their website: "Spamino is like a firewall for email. Spamino receives email for you and forwards only qualified email to an email account you choose. Illegitimate email is held at Spamino for a few weeks and deleted if it remains unclaimed. When you sign up with Spamino, you get one fixed personal email address, such as "firstname.lastname@example.org". Give this email address to anybody, and you will be protected from spam, because every new sender to this address has to first pass a simple security challenge. Spammers are highly automated and are not able to pass this challenge. Spamino is a free service!