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Microsoft offers some tips to prevent spam

Hide your address from spammers

Despite your best efforts, you have received e-mail you didn't ask for—and don't want. What can you do about all that spam? First, ignore the junk e-mail. Second, report the people who did it.

If you send or receive e-mail, you probably get a lot of junk e-mail, also known as spam. Maybe a lot of spam. Ever wonder why you get so much junk e-mail? It's a lucrative business. It's cheap to send out millions, even billions, of e-mail messages. And consider this: If even a tiny percentage of a hundred million people buy something in response to a spam e-mail message, that's a lot! So what can you do about spam? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Here are some of the ways you can stop the deluge.

Some spammers get address lists from Web sites where you may have signed up for free offers, ordered something online, or entered a contest. They can also get your address from listings on Internet white pages, newsgroups, resumé postings, and chat rooms.

Follow these tips whenever you can:
  • Set up an e-mail address dedicated solely to Web transactions. Consider using a free mail service to set up an e-mail account for your online transactions. This will help you keep your real e-mail address private.
  • Only share your primary e-mail address with people you know. Avoid listing your e-mail address in large Internet directories. Don't even post it on your own Web site.
  • Disguise your e-mail address. Use a disguised address whenever you post it to a newsgroup, chat room, or bulletin board. For example, you could give your e-mail address as "s0me0ne@example.c0m" using "0" (zero) instead of "o." A person can interpret your address, but the automated programs that spammers use cannot.
Watch out for checked boxes. When you buy things online, companies sometimes pre-check boxes to indicate that it's fine to sell or give your e-mail address to responsible parties. Click the check box to clear it if you don't want the company to contact you.

You may not be able to stop every piece of spam, but by refusing to respond and by reporting spam violators to the proper authorities, you can help reduce the hit.

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