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How to keep your email address from getting into the hands of spammers

 

  1. Never post an email address on a website in clear text, unless it is an address that you expect to be heavily spammed.
    To post contact information, without giving your email address to the spammers, you can:
    • Use a contact form, where the visitor to your site fills out a form that is emailed by the system, to you, without giving away your email address.
    • Encrypt the mailto: link, so automated tools, used by the spammers, won't recognize it as an email address, while humans viewing it with a browser won't know the difference.  See: http://www.tulaweb.net/antispam/ for an encryption tool that has been very effective so far.
    • Use a graphic image of the email address.  Spammers will rarely bother with OCR for picking email addresses off regular web pages.  Your human visitors will be able to read the image and email you, though many will not bother if they can't either click on the link or at least copy and paste.
  2. Never register a domain name, using an email address, unless it is an address that you expect to be heavily spammed.
    • You must register domain names using an email address at which you can actually be contacted, or you risk having the domain revoked, but you should not use a valuable email address.
    • Use an alias (forwarder) pointing to a real address so that when the spam gets heavy you can replace the alias, and not have to replace your real address.
    • Request Whois Privacy when you register the domain.  Most top level domains allow you to hide your real address and post an address belonging to the registrar.  For all TLDs, where that is allowed, we offer that service at no additional charge if you register the domain through us.  Most registrars offer this service either at no charge or at a small charge.  If you want people to be able to look up your domain name and see who owns it, this service will prevent that, but unless it's important for you to be visible through a whois lookup, you will certainly get spam unless you enable Whois Privacy.
  3. Be very careful who you give your email address to, and what you sign up for using your email address.
    • When buying something online or giving your email to someone you aren't positively sure is trustworthy, create an alias (forwarder) pointing to your real email, specific to that contact and give them the alias.  You'll still get their email, as long as you want it, and if the alias falls into the hands of spammers, you will know who to blame, and you'll be able to delete the alias, without hurting your real email address.
  4. Don't use trivially guessed email addresses unless it is an address that you expect to be heavily spammed.
    • email addresses like sales@yourdomain.com, info@yourdomain.com, or bob@yourdomain.com are likely to fall victim to a dictionary attack, where spam is sent to many common names @ a domain, knowing that while many will fail, some will likely get through to a real person.  While you may decide to use some of those names anyway, be careful where you point them because you should expect that they will probably draw spam, even if you are careful about how you give them out.

 



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