This article explores one of the hottest topics surrounding email services: Spam.
What is Spam?
Most people whom have used email are all too familiar with spam. Strictly speaking, spam is any piece of unsolicited email that has been sent indiscriminately to multiple recipients. The content of spam varies greatly. Some spam comes from legitimate companies advertising products and services by email, while other spam is malicious, containing email viruses, or phishing scams designed to defraud or steal personal information.
Approximately 80 to 90% of email received by our mail server is spam. That adds up to billions of messages each year! Dealing with spam email is an ongoing challenge.
Below are some tips on how to effectively deal with spam.
Use an Alternate Email Address for Online Accounts
Only provide your primary email address to family, friends, and trusted businesses, such as your bank, Internet provider, doctor’s office, etc.
A free Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or AOL account is perfect if you need to register for mailing lists, online blogs/forums that display your email address to the public, chat services, online gaming, online purchases, etc. Some online services even sneak a clause in their terms of service which allows them to share your email address with their partners for marketing purposes.
When you share your primary email address online you are sharing it with people across the globe. Local spam laws cannot protect you from Nigerian spam!
To Unsubscribe or not to Unsubscribe?
Five years ago if you asked us whether you should click on unsubscribe links, chances are the answer would be an unequivocal no! Conventional wisdom used to be that clicking on unsubscribe would let the spammer know your email address was valid, and this would result in even more spam.
Now advice is changing. In many countries, people that send solicitation email (spam) are required to abide by the same rules as telemarketers. Most bulk email is required to contain unsubscribe links, and if you unsubscribe they are required to stop sending you email.
Be cautious but open to unsubscribing. If you have provided your email address to a business, a website, or completed an online survey, then they may have signed you up for their newsletters. Unsubscribing is the best way to stop junk email in these cases. If you don’t recognize the sender, using Google to search for more information may help confirm whether the bulk email is coming from a legitimate business, and show you where they are located. If it’s an advertisement for a Nigerian Pharmacy, then it may be best not to use the unsubscribe link. Also, be patient. After unsubscribing, it may take a few days to take effect.
Log into Webmail and Mark Junk Mail as Spam
Our webmail system (https://mail.hover.com) contains a powerful anti-spam tool, the Spam button. If you select spam email in your Inbox and click on the Spam button, it will send us a detailed report. This information is used to improve and test updates to our spam filtering software.
To use the Spam button, log into mail.hover.com with your email address and password. Next, select a spam email message in your Inbox and click the Spam button.
Please note: Customers using POP3 to download email into mail clients such as Windows Live Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird, etc., need to configure their email software to leave copies of messages on our server in order to have copies of messages in webmail to mark as spam.
Being Part of the Solution
Please remember the golden rule for sending email Don't send email to people that you don't directly know, and don't send the same email to everyone you know.
People you don’t know are more likely to report an unsolicited email as spam, and if you forward an email to 200 contacts in your address book, there is a good chance a couple of the recipients might report the message as spam. Multiple spam complaints could result in a temporary suspension of outbound mail services.
Don't Open Suspicious Attachments
Never open file attachments from unknown senders, and if you receive a suspicious attachment from one of your regular contacts, send a reply and ask what the attachment is before opening it, just to be safe. Many email viruses are spread by opening file attachments, and infected computers are used to send copies of the virus to address book contacts stored on the infected computer.
Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus software will help protect you from sending and receiving email viruses. This reduces the number of infected computers on the Internet, and in turn reduces the amount of spam caused by email viruses.
Watch Out for Scams
Beware of unsolicited email messages that ask you to reply with personal information, or visit a website to provide personal information online. Examples of fraudulent email messages are provided in the following article: http://about.hover.com/scams