University of Nevada, Reno

Technology Support

Basic Rules for Dealing with Spam

  1. Do not respond to spam. Any kind of response, whether you intend to unsubscribe or complain, informs the sender that the address is valid and a real person is reading the email.
  2. Do not click "unsubscribe me" at the bottom of most spam. All this does is confirm your address with the spam source. Once they know your address is valid, your volume of spam increases.
  3. Do not buy anything offered via spam. Doing so simply supports the spam industry, and an increasing percentage of spam is fraudulent. If you're really interested in the product that you see, try buying it from a related web site, but don't click on any links in the email.
  4. Report child pornography. By law, you are obligated to report any spam containing child pornography. If you receive a child porn email, save it until you have contacted one of these agencies:
  5. Report/complain about spam. Is your InBox crowded with messages promising get-rich-quick schemes, vacation prizes, or miracle diets? You can put a stop to spam, by forwarding it to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC investigates these emails for possible law-enforcement action. For more information on email schemes, see OnGuardOnline.gov.
  6. Filter incoming email. Black listing and white listing are two types of filtering.
    • The most common is a black list, which blocks incoming mail that matches a list of emails that you specify as spam. Some black list programs like MailWasher also have a "friend" list where you can specify addresses that should never be blocked, even by the black list.
    • A white list blocks ALL incoming email, unless you've specifically listed the email address in your white list (kind of like the friend list mentioned above). White lists are riskier to use, as you will likely end up blocking an important email from a source you didn't think of, but they do a more thorough job of nabbing spam.
  7. Spam Motel. Moteling is an innovative way of combating spam. A few companies, such as spammotel.com, offer a free service that generates bogus email addresses to use with your web transactions. Email sent to the bogus address is forwarded by the service to your real email account. When you begin to see junk emails coming in via the bogus address, you can delete that address and assign a new bogus address to use.
  8. Use the delete key. Simply delete that pesky email.