Despite anti-spam laws, the amount of spam e-mail messages I receive has grown enormously. You probably feel the same way. The problem with spam laws is that someone has to enforce them, but the e-mail spam problem is so enormous that only the largest and most aggressive USA spammers get prosecuted. Foreign spammers are not subject to USA laws and are much harder to identify. There are, however, some fundamental things that you can do to lessen the amount of spam that you receive, particularly if you have a business.
First and foremost, the best way to prevent your e-mail address from finding its way to a spam list is to never, under any circumstances, publish the e-mail address on a web page. Why? Because most email ends up on spam lists because one of the hundreds of spam bots–also called e-mail harvesters–found it on a web site and automatically added it to a spam list. If you need to publish an e-mail address, create an image file for the e-mail address and display that. Spambots cannot read text in images, so they will not find the e-mail address if you display it in an image.
Second, never, ever click on a spam message or any links in a spam message. This includes links that assure that the message will be removed from the spammer’s database. While this may work for legitimate sources of e-mail, I am willing to bet that few spammers really care about the laws, especially if they are in a foreign country. When you click on any link, you are very likely just verifying that your e-mail address is valid, which pretty much guarantees that it will be added to hundreds of spam lists.
Third, much of the spam that we receive comes from spammer programs that randomly generate e-mail account names using the domain names of popular ISPs and then send an e-mail to that address. If it bounces back, they know the e-mail address is not valid. If it does not bounce back, it may be a valid e-mail address.
Many spammers use a library of account names that are attached to other libraries of domain names. The account name if the portion of the e-mail address found to the left of the @ symbol. The domain is the part to the right.
Due to the fact that we run several web-based businesses, we have noticed a pattern of account names that many spammers use to see if an e-mail address is valid. The account names are attached to lists of domain names that can easily be found on the web and are used to generate spam for commonly used e-mail addresses.
The following is a list of account names that are frequently used with spam messages. If you wish to cut down on the amount of spam that you receive, it may be wise to avoid using these names.
If you run a business and you need to use a sales-related e-mail address, try using simple variations, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you avoid using some of the most commonly used account names, you can avoid wasting a lot of time trying to separate legitimate e-mail from spam.