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In an effort to never, ever get a single bit of spam, I instituted a bit of a ridiculous solution. Here’s what I did:

I never use my real e-mail address publicly. This includes my friends and family. Nobody has it. Period.

  • If someone somehow discovers my private account, I can move to a new one by simply updating all the forwards.

I create a unique alias for every website/account I use. For instance, yahoo@jamesrocks.com, wachovia@jamesrocks.com, etc.

  • If any of these accounts sell my address to a spammer, or send me annoying things without offering an unsubscribe, I can simply delete the alias and my problems are gone.

For aliases I want to send mail “from”, I create a full pop3 email account.

  • I can then use the smtp server to send mail as that account without getting the annoying “on behalf of…” message in certain email clients.
  • I run a cron job to automatically clear out the contents of the mail account nightly. Since the mail is all being forwarded anyway, I don’t actually need to pull anything from the account. This cleans things up nicely and avoids using up space unnecessarily.

Since my actual email account is at GMail, I have to handle separately the spam I receive directly at that account. Luckily it seems that most spammers that brute-force mail every letter combination at GMail do not include dots (.) in the addresses. I can use this to my advantage by filtering the “deliverto:” property and auto-deleting these messages.

  • In the GMail filters, under “Has the words” include “deliveredto:realaddresswithoutdots@gmail.com” (no quotes).
  • That will capture things delivered to your address whether or not you are included in the TO: field or BCC: or whatever. It’s awesome, right?

It’s a bit of overkill, but it gets the job done.

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James Tomasino

I like reading, writing, and arithmetic

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