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Tricks to fool spammers
by David Sharp of Sharpwit Web Consultants

The first line of defense is not to publicly release your e-mail address or fill out any forms that offer "free" items or announce you are a "winner" of such and such a contest (many sites will dangle something in front of your nose for the price of a valid e-mail address; many more will ask for it before allowing you to download software) to programs that travel through links on your web page but collecting e-mail addresses as they go. The key to beating the spammers, then, is to make sure your address never appears on the 'net.

  1. Newsgroups:
    Always fake(mung) (new word mung) your e-mail address when you are signing into a news group. When you have left the newsgroups you can change the return address back to its correct form.
  2. Enter E-mail here scams:
    When you go to various web sites you may see a nice looking box inviting you to type in your e-mail address and win a free gift, join a mailing list, or get a special offer. Don't do it!! They are only after your e-mail address to mail "stuff" too.
  3. Sign-ups for Service:
    Many sites require you to fill in a form with your name, e-mail address and various other trivia before you can participate in a chat, access certain portions of the site, get listed on their search engine, or download software. Essentially, they're getting you to "opt-in" by voluntarily supplying your address, then considering this free license to sign you up for 1000 of their (or their sponsors') commercial newsletters or sell your address to other spammers. A search engine listing is a good example. Most "Add URL" thingies come with a form asking for your e-mail address. They don't need your e-mail to index your home page but the sale of it (e-mail address) to others is a revenue generator for the search engine company. Whenever someone wants your e-mail as part of a sign-up, ask yourself what purpose having your address on file serves; what business they have with it.
  4. Online directories
    Try very hard NOT to get listed here. It is actually a gold mine for all spammers and their next best source of e-mail addresses to spam
  5. Your Own Web Page:
    This is rapidly becoming the greatest source of e-mail addresses. Spam-bots can harvest here forever.

    For the reader who is already "technically-savvy" reader and assumes he/she a web site (either for business or personal) and he/she is familiar with some of the technical jargon associated with web site development. If you feel confused by the "spam detection" consult your web master as any web site can be Spam proofed.
    - One Spam evasion tactic is to use an "image" rather than a "text link" to show your e-mail address. Humans can read it but "spam-bots can't.
    - Another Spam evasion method is to use Java script (a programming language used in web sites to carry out a variety of tasks and specific instructions within the web page) to display your e-mail address (see http://www.cexx.org/spamguide.htm)

The article "Tricks to fool spammers" was submitted by:
Sharpwit Web Consultants   © 2004 D.Sharp; First Canadian Serial Rights.
See our virtual community at www.castlegarbc.ca or www.columbiariver.ca

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