How to get less junk email

I am fairly frequently asked for tips on getting less junk email.  There’s quite a few things you can do that will cut the amount of junk you get, or at  least let you get an idea of where it came from.


  • Don’t have a catchall account, only ever accept mail for real mailboxes.
  • Use as few generic or role addresses as you can.  sales@, info@, help@ etc will all draw in unwanted junk.
  • Delete or disable legacy mailboxes, don’t alias them to another user’s mailbox.
  • Use different email aliases for different sites.  So I might have  martin-slashdot@ for Slashdot,  martin-elreg@ for The Register, martin-dominos@ for Dominos etc etc.   If mails arrives to these addresses, and it’s not from that specific organisation, then something has leaked when it shouldn’t have.
  • Once you’ve finished with a particular site, remove the alias.
  • Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.  If you get email you didn’t want from a company, call them to get yourself removed. Where you’ve had no contact with a company before, tell them politely that they are breaking the law by sending you unsolicited email.
  • Understand the difference between spam and UCE.  With spam it is rarely worth your time tracking down the sender, UCE may well be.
  • Don’t click on unsubscribe links in spam messages.  Do click on unsubscribe links in UCE messages.  With the latter, if the unsubscribe isn’t instant (“It may take up to 10 days….”) then blacklist the sender.


And, of course, if junk mail really is a big problem for you, consider using a commercial anti-spam and anti-virus filtering service to get rid of it.  Obviously I would recommend antibodyMX, but there are plenty of other providers out there.


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