Preventing Junk Email
... avoiding spam (unwanted) email
One of the troubles with having an email address is the amount of unsolicited junk (spam) email that arrives. There are a number of steps you can take to keep your address largely spam free.
- Choose your address wisely
There are certain addresses that are very common. Spammers know this so they simply send random emails to these addresses hoping they will be active. Unless you are already using it we wouldn't recommend you have any of the following: info@ webmaster@ hostmaster@ postmaster@ sales@ billing@ root@ admin@ administrator@. Currently a good alternative is office@ which seems to not be heavily targeted
- Never reply to junk
If you do get unsolicited junk mail never reply to it or click a link saying 'remove me from the list'. Doing so would only confirm to the spammer that the address is valid. If you are getting junk from a company that you purchased from or a service you subscribed to then you should be able to ask them to remove you from their list.
- Get virus & spyware protection
Make sure you (and the members of your church) have up-to-date virus scanners. If anyone who has your email address on their computer gets infected with a virus or spyware then your address can be passed on without their knowledge. Windows Defender is built into the latest versions of Windows and helps guard your PC against viruses and other malware. For a PC running an older version of Windows 7, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for the low, low price of free.
- Keep your email address hidden
Never post your email address directly on a web site. Spammers have automated programs that read email addresses from websites. Note: church123 provides a special form of protection so you can include your email address on your site made with the web builder
- Don't email to multiple people on the TO: line
When emailing to numbers of people it is best to always use the BCC (blind carbon copy) option to send your email. This is very easy to do and prevents revealing everyone's email addresses to everyone else. That's important as if one of the people has a virus or malware on their computer it may well be collecting email addresses for spammers!
- Use multiple email addresses
Keep your primary email address just for proper church business. You could use another email address for anything you are signing up for where they might send you junk mail. Once you have the information you require you can ignore that address (until the next time you want to use it)
- Privacy statements & Opt outs
Always read privacy statements before signing up for things and if given the option we recommend opting out from receiving mails from other companies etc. Be careful as sometimes you have to untick a box to opt out and sometimes you have to tick it
- Human readable addresses
If you have to post your address on a public website then insert some characters to hide your address e.g. office[removethis]@yourchurchname.org. Most humans will know to remove the anti spam bit but most spam programs aren't clever enough
- Avoid letting directories disclose your address
Many church directories (and other directories) will list your address making it is easy for spammers to steal. There are some notable exceptions such as www.findachurch.co.uk (the UK's leading church directory) they take your email address and cleverly hide it so people can contact you via a safe online form
- Registering a domain name
For nearly all domain endings e.g. .org .com .net etc (uk endings not included) you need to supply an email address that is then publicly visible in the Who Is directory (this shows who owns the domains). This directory is a prime target for email collection by spammers. We strongly recommend you don't use your primary address - but it does need to be an active address in case the registrar needs to contact you. Note: when church123 registers a domain in your name we use a special email address so we get all the thousands of junk mails for you
- Use a junk mail filter
Lots of email programs (such as Outlook) include built in junk mail filtering. If you're getting junk it is worth turning this option on. Online (web) mail also may provide junk and virus filtering. Remember to check your spam/junk folder for any emails that have been accidental trapped
- Removal services
There are a lot of sites on the web which, sometimes for a small fee, claim they will get your address removed from spam lists. BEWARE - lots of these sites are actually collecting addresses to sell to spammers!