By Jesse Ocean  |   31st October 17

cost of replying to spam

The Cost Of Replying To Spam

Spam email is undeniably the bane of our lives. It can range from benign things to the downright harmful, you know, the kind that once opened your computer has a virus that incessantly taunts you? But what happens when you decide to open up the spam folder and go, “Hey, what if I reply to a spam email?” My simple answer is this: Don’t.

Your idea probably came from the TED talk by James Veitch, a British comedian, which I thoroughly enjoy myself. Though I must warn against it once more, the reason being is that you never really know what or who is on the other end and once they’ve found out that you’ve been purposefully wasting their time (which is noble, I concur, so that they may have less time to cheat others), you may be subject to the more malicious kind of emails or possibly physical harm should you not obscure your actual IP address.

So how do you protect yourself from spam emails? There is no surefire way to completely get rid of it, but there are three ways to reduce its amount:

1. Set up honeypots

What are honeypots? They’re not the stuff that Pooh Bear loves. Instead, in the digital realm, honeypots are invisible filters that attract spam bots towards them, effectively drawing them away from your inbox. What honeypots do is that they have an invisible line for the bots to fill out, effectively marking them as bots. You can use a disposable email with a honeypot feature attached in order to ensure that you do not end up with a pile of unwanted spam emails.

2. Use advanced image filters

Spammers are getting smarter each day. Gone are the days when text filters were all it took to get rid of most of your spam email. Now, most spam comes either in the form of images or a mix between text and images, which makes it more difficult for plain text filters to identify spam. Hence, you should install an advanced image filter in order to stop these new emails from coming in.

3. Leave your email address openly in as few places on the web as possible

Have a website? Want to be contacted but do not wish to receive spam? Simply use a contact form that auto-routes messages to your email instead of leaving your email address out in the open for spam bots to identify and target. If you really need to publish your email address there, try using a formula like this email[at]websitename[dot]com. That way, the irregular symbols or lack of it make it harder for bots to send emails to you but still ensure that actual humans are able to.

That being said, it is an absolute pain in the neck to receive spam emails that are completely pointless or even worse, contains malicious code and/or software. Hopefully, after reading these tips you’ll be able to reduce the amount of spam coming through your inboxes.

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