Although e-mail can be incredibly convenient, it also can potentially allow a flood of junk e-mail, or “spam” to come flooding into your inbox uninvited. Because this type of e-mail can harbor computer viruses and spyware, it is important to take steps to combat it so that your annoyance level will be kept at bay and your computer will keep running safely. Even if you only send e-mails to people that you know, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be be immune from the effects of spam. The reason for this is that experienced spammers use tools such as automated e-mail generators to help guess combinations of e-mails. Therefore, they don’t necessarily have to know your e-mail address in order to send spam to your inbox.
Furthermore, always take care when filling out any e-mail registration forms, whether you are intending to gain access to a message board, or try your luck by entering a contest. Although most such registration efforts are ultimately harmless, there are still other entities that will willingly sell their e-mail lists to marketers in return for a handsome profit. If you are on such an e-mail list, you may soon find that your inbox becomes littered with spam.
Finally, many current e-mail programs such as Gmail and Yahoo have spam filters that sort out the junk from the important messages, without you having to even click your mouse. That said, these programs aren’t perfect. If you are expecting an e-mail from someone, yet you’ve failed to receive it, always check your spam filter to make sure that it hasn’t been sent there. Most programs allow you to add certain addresses to your “white list,” effectively telling your e-mail program that the address is not spam and should never be placed in your spam folder.