Stopping spam

Spam is computer lingo for the emails you don't want. Spam often contains marketing information, pornography or information on how you can send your money to Nigeria and never see it again.

Marketing material must follow The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act which requires marketing emails to include an unsubscribe option.

There are three main types of spam:

  • Spam from companies and websites where you have registered. Reputable companies will give you the option to unsubscribe from emails prominently in their emails.
  • Spam from Trade Me Members. If you receive unwanted marketing material from members that you have previously traded with you can find more information and make a complaint on the Department of Internal Affairs Anti-spam page.
  • Spam from unknown companies and people. You receive these because a spammer has stolen, purchased or guessed your email address.

How to avoid, or at least reduce spam

  1. Don't choose a guessable email address. An email address like bob_smith@hotmail.com or genius@hotmail.com is easily guessed by a spammer because they use simple names or words that can be found in the dictionary. Services like Hotmail, with millions of members, virtually ensure you will get spammed to death.

  2. Be very careful with your primary email address. Your main email address should only be given to companies and people you absolutely trust. You should get free email addresses to use to register on websites you never intend to visit again.

  3. Don't open spam. If you know it's spam, don't open it. Opening spam can tell the spammer they have found a valid email address to keep spamming or sell to other spammers.

  4. Turn off email images. Images within emails can be used to tell the sender that you opened the email. Switch your default setting to not show images in emails.

  5. Never publish your email address on the Internet. Spammers will find it and send you a lot of new email that you don't want.

  6. Contact your ISP and read the help for your email program. Your Internet provider and email program will be painfully aware of spam and should provide tools and information to further reduce spam.

  7. Read privacy policies on websites. A good privacy policy commits to never selling your email address. Read Trade Me's privacy policy.

  8. Don't forward marketing emails. That will just make your friends get spammed.

Important note: An easy way to stop spam is to put your email program or service onto the highest anti-spam setting. This can inadvertently junk all of the email you do want to receive - so make sure you understand what you are doing and check your junk folder regularly.

Want further assistance?

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