Hotmail is among the best at spam protection. Late last year Microsoft hired Cascade Insights to hold a contest ranking the spam-stopping abilities of the big three Web e-mail providers. The test results put Microsoft’s Hotmail on top but almost tied with Google’s Gmail, while Yahoo Mail was a distant third. This is in contrast to the 2009 findings from Cascade. They ran the same study and at that time ranked Gmail first, followed by Hotmail.
Notes on Avoiding SPAM
While the SPAM-blocking capabilities of Web mail providers are good, they will never be perfect, and SPAMers can be expected to evolve their tactics in an attempt to circumvent SPAM filters. So to avoid spam there are some guidelines to follow on what users can do to minimize the amount of SPAM they receive:
Recognize suspicious sites.
How can you avoid spam? Consider some of the following items because it is usually an invitation for SPAM (or identity theft) to submit your email address and other information to sites that:
- Request your email address on their home page.
- Claim to be free but request your credit card information “for verification purposes.”
- Make any claims that seem too good to be true.
- Make it hard to leave by popping up “are you sure” types of notifications.
- Open popup windows as soon as you visit them.
- You can get something valuable for very little work (“get a free iPad just for filling out a survey”).
- It claims that you are a randomly selected winner.
- It claims that there is only a limited time to act on an offer.
Trying to avoid spam is one thing, trying to recognize it is another, so here are some items to consider.
Spam is often identifiable in your inbox, based on certain characteristics:
- The content of the message is mostly in images.
- The sender looks like something randomly generated, such as: email@example.com.
- The email is similar in content to suspicious Web sites (such as telling you have won, or promises an iPad for filling out a survey).
- The email asks you to confirm your name, address, or other information.
- The email claims you need to change your password at a legitimate site, such as PayPal or a banking site.
- The email contains seemingly random or nonsensical text.
What to do with SPAM.
Here are some specific steps:
1. Delete the email.
2. Use your Web mail provider’s ability to mark it as junk. However, do not mark an email as SPAM if you have intentionally subscribed to it and no longer wish to receive it.
Here are things to avoid…Don’t:
- Display the images in the email. Spamers will know that have a working email address.
- Click on links. This also sends a signal to the spammer that they have a good email address.
- Unsubscribe issues. If it’s legitimate email, you can unsubscribe, but if it’s truly unsolicited, then unsubscribing notifies the spammer they have a real email address.