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How do I stop spam?

Most advice on spam centers on filtering or not placing your email addresses
on websites, etc. Too late. I cannot believe that Yahoo really wants me to view
email for pills and other junk with a spelling mistake in the title to get past
their filters. I also do not know why there is no Hotmail (I no longer use it)
option to just receive email from my contacts. How do I stop spam without any
filters whatsoever? I also have a non-FIOS free Yahoo email account for only
Yahoo and I get no spam. I’m starting to believe that Verizon Yahoo is sending
me this spam for additional profits. Is there a way to stop not-blocked spam?
Does telling the Canadian pharmacy that I no longer want their pills still
result in more spam? We have CAN-SPAM for protection, but is that worthless

In this excerpt from
Answercast #62
, I look (once again) at the pervasive nature of spam and the
best ways of dealing with it.

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Get rid of spam

Boy! So, I need to clarify a couple of things.

One is no, there is no way today to stop spam. Period. That is the
practical, albeit frustrating reality of the nature of the internet today: the
nature of email and spam.

The best you as an individual can do is to use the spam filters. I know! Use
the filters that are in your email program or in your email service to help
train that service as to what is or is not spam.

Your ISP is not in cahoots with the spammers. They don’t want that spam any
more than you do. Spam is taking up valuable resources from them as well and
they would love to see that all go away. But, you can’t stop spam.

Anyone can send spam

So, the problem is of course that anybody can send email to
anybody. Period.

Even if you manage to hide your email address in some fashion:

  • Eventually, somebody’s going to guess it.

  • Eventually, it’s going to fall into the wrong hands.

  • Eventually, it’s going to end up on a spammers list and they’re going to
    start sending you stuff.

The CAN-SPAM act

CAN-SPAM. My understanding of CAN-SPAM is that the legalities really haven’t
done that much to stop spam – or done much that you and I would consider truly

In reality, it may have been used to prosecute some of the major spammers
that we occasionally hear about in the news media. But the fact is spam is so
pervasive, and it’s coming from so many different places on the planet, that
there is simply no legal jurisdiction that’s going to be able to just “decree”
that spam must go away by fiat.

Filtering spam

The only solution to spam is a technological one. Today, that means:

  1. Making sure you’re using spam filters to their best.

  2. Using blocking when it’s available (if it’s even useful for the types of
    spam that you’re getting.)

  3. And basically taking a breath. Stepping away. Using the Delete key liberally
    and moving on.

Spam is just not worth getting all wrapped up about. It’s not going to go
away any time soon. There are approaches, there are certainly technologies that
could be used to make spam go away, but the problem is (once again) it requires
such a global coordinated effort that it’s really unlikely for that to ever
happen as well.

So, the practical reality of the situation today is that no, you can’t stop
spam. The best you can do is to deal with it as efficiently as possible using
technologies that you have in your hands today.

Unfortunately, those seem to be the very technologies that you resist using:
filtering and blocking. I also want to point you at an article, “How do I prevent spam and scam emails from being sent to
” The fact is it will say what I just told you – but perhaps it will
give you a couple of other of ideas for other things that you might do to try
and reduce the amount of spam in your inbox.

End of Answercast #62 Back to –
Audio Segment

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be about backing up. Nothing, and I do really mean nothing, can save you from
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The Ask Leo! AnswerCast is a production of Ask Leo! and is Copyright 2012.
Thanks for listening, I’m Leo Notenboom and I’ll be back soon with another Ask
Leo! AnswerCast.

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8 comments on “How do I stop spam?”

  1. On the other GUEST computer in my house most people are Yahoo and Facebook users and noticed their Yahoo is ovewhelmed with Spam,, On MY Personal computer I been using HOTMAIL since like a long time ,, and receive virtually NO SPAM or Obvious Junk Mail ,,, WHY ,, Bcoz I have OPTED for the PAID SUBSCRIPTION to hotmail ,, It cost $19.++ a Year and MY INBOX is CLEAN

  2. I’ve found GMail to be super-efficient at sending spam to the junk folder. I rarely ever get unwanted mail in my inbox. I think it may have happened 1 time.

    Yahoo, on the other hand, in notoriously horrible at stopping spam. I have a Yahoo account that I use for sign-ups on internet accounts, for confirmation purposes. Every time I go into my account to confirm a new sign-up there’s literally hundreds of unwanted mailings in my inbox. I just delete everything in my inbox and move on.

  3. I tried filtering in Outlook Express and found that afterwards it downloaded my emails from my ISP up to the point where it runs into an unwanted email, then it stops downloading completely. All the legitimate emails that would have been downloaded after that one, are not being downloaded.

  4. My answer is simple. All my wanted contacts have been tagged not spam. I open the spam section, highlight anything there and erase them all. A few seconds a day and they are gone.

  5. Leo did NOT give the answer I wanted to hear. I, too, want to stop all spam! Alas, I have a related(?) question. I have numerous email accounts (7 at I use each address for completely different purposes. Yet, I often get (almost daily) the same spam emails at several of these addresses. Is there technology which allows someone to “see” all (or more than one) of my email addresses?

  6. Chuckster, that’s basically my approach. However, I never delete my spam. I use Thunderbird, and you can tell Thunderbird to automatically delete your spam after x days. So my spam gets deleted for me. Saves me the extra work.

  7. James, when I “upgraded” from WinXP to Win7 I discovered my beloved Outlook Express would no longer work. At Leo’s suggestion, I’ve been using Thunderbird ever since. But, as a non-techie, I neither like nor understand Thunderbird. No offense to Leo, but I find Thunderbird to be a lot like the ask-leo website: it is for the “techies” and not for the simple minded (like me). It is not pretty.

    Example, why does some email marked spam go to my In box while other email not marked spam go into my Spam folder?

  8. Duane,

    I can’t really explain that to you. You might want to look at the filters that might be in use.

    Very early on, I used/set up a filter that basically says that if the email is from someone who is not in my address book, mark it as spam and put it in the spam folder.

    You might also want to look at Mozilla Support. They’ve got some good articles and you can also post questions that you can’t find an answer to and get help from other users.


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