If you have an email address, the chances are it has been bombarded with spam and junk mail at some point in its lifetime. In fact, according to recent statistics, around 70% of 2013’s email flow was of the junk mail nature! Not only is this irritating but it can also be time consuming, unproductive and jeopardize the security of your personal details. The best way to counteract the issue is to prevent email spam before it reaches your inbox. To help you keep your email address spam free, we’ve come up with a list of the top seven ways to stop spam in its tracks. Here’s how!

1. Don’t surrender your address to online sites

It may seem obvious but we can’t stress this one enough. Don’t give out your email address to unknown online sources. In more cases than not, it will end up in the hands of someone you do not wish to be in contact with. Many sites utilize what the industry refers to as ‘robots’ (i.e. scripts that are written specifically to scrape websites for stray public addresses). Others will also sell your email address to other sources which will then bombard you with spam for anything and everything.

2. Write your email address in un-scannable format

If you must give out your email address, stop the above from happening by writing it out in a format that can’t be scanned. For example, ‘yourname(at)yahoo(dot)com’ is an effective way to deter spambots. Other methods include using an image of a dynamically constructed JavaScript version.

With the constant stream of incoming mail, it can be difficult to keep track of everything that is sent. If you receive a lot of spam, important emails can get deleted or lost in amongst all the advertising. As such, it pays to have an effective system in place such as Mimecast Email Archiving. Using an intelligent cloud based platform, the software automatically stores all sent and received emails to help organizations keep on top of record keeping, compliance and productivity.

3. Don’t use the same username

Email harvesters can be smart and one of their favorite methods is to draw public usernames and match them up with common services (i.e. @yahoo.com, @hotmail.com etc.) until they hit the jackpot. As such, if you’re using a chat room or a forum, create an obscure username which cannot be used to identify your personal email address.

4. Use a disposable email address

If shaking spam is high on your to do list, create a disposable email address that you can use to sign up for online offers, newsletters and anything else that could result in potential spam. This way you can either forward the content to your main email address or switch the service when you are sure there is no associated spam.

5. Never respond to spam

If you have been spammed, don’t fan the flames by hitting the reply or unsubscribe links. This will only serve to let the spammers know that your email address is active which will most likely result in them selling your email address on as a confirmed active account. Instead, report and delete the spam according to your service provider guideline which can usually be found in the help section.

6. Keep an eye out for checkboxes

If you are surrendering your email address, scan the entire registration process for checkboxes. Often they will be automatically ticked which means you may be signing up for additional emails without even knowing it!

7. Use a spam filter

Enlisting the help of your email service provider’s spam filter is a great last line of defense. This will help deflect spam from reaching your main inbox. It can also be used to flag anything that does make its way in and prevent it from happening in the future.

With these simple yet effective tips, you can ensure that your email address stays productive, efficient and spam free.