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Stopping SPAM
SPAM is one of the biggest problems with the Internet. It is a growing headache for business and home users alike, as well as a primary source of virus and malware outbreaks. Because so many spammers send out their messages from outside of the United States, it is virtually impossible for the Federal government to enforce laws prohibiting SPAM against them. As an Internet service provider, we are intimitely aware of the extent and seriousness of this problem. We realize that SPAM is annoying, often obscene and upsetting, and by employing automatic and intelligent filtering, we are doing what we can to stop it from reaching you. However, because it is our responsibility to make sure you get your e-mails, we must be conservative when it comes to filtering spam messages before they reach you. We put this page together to let you know about various ways to reduce the amount of SPAM that makes it into your inbox.

  1. The best way to stop SPAM is to never get it in the first place

    This may sound easier said than done, but in reality, it's possible to never get SPAM at all. Simply put, if spammers don't have your e-mail address, they can't send you SPAM. If you keep your e-mail address between you and people you know in person, chances are very good that you won't ever get any spam. As soon as you go "public" with your e-mail address by using it to sign up for web sites and promotions, you are running the risk of the wrong person coming into contact with your e-mail address.

    What many of our customers do is to have two e-mail addresses with Sasquatch. One e-mail address is for personal communication, and the other is to sign up for web sites, promotions and mailing lists. You can expect to get spam on your public address and it will be okay, because the people who you care most about communicating with will have your private e-mail address.

  2. Virus scanning and firewall software can make all the difference

    Getting virus protection for your Internet-connected PC can be a very worthwhile $30 investment. It is unfortunate that more PCs don't come prebundled with working anti-virus solutions, but it's really not a good idea to be online without one. Compare it to leaving car unlocked all the time because it didn't come standard with locks. A small cost now could save you hundreds of dollars in PC repair and headache medication later.

    What do viruses and spam have in common? A lot of the latest viruses are trojans that harvest your personal information, including your email address and address book, and send them on to hackers and spammers. There are security holes in many web browsers and email clients that will make it possible for your computer to become automatically infected without you needing to lift a finger. If you become infected with one of these "worm" viruses, your e-mail address can be compromised and you run the risk of getting spam.

  3. Use an e-mail program with intelligent SPAM filtering

    Microsoft's Office Outlook (NOT Outlook Express) and the free Mozilla Thunderbird are two great e-mail programs that will automatically filter SPAM. Thunderbird is very cool because you can train it to identify SPAM--it will try to guess if a given message is SPAM by flagging a trash icon next to it in your inbox. You can tell it whether it is right or wrong with one simple click. Eventually, it will learn what to expect from SPAM messages and will identify SPAM with ~90% accuracy. Then when you are satisfied that it is flagging the trash icon on SPAM messages and leaving your personal messages, you can tell it to automatically move these messages to your trash. We really recommend using Thunderbird for your home spam-filtering.

    For help setting up Thunderbird to check your e-mail, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions page.

  4. DON'T click on any links in messages that look like SPAM

    Yes, don't click on ANY links in messages that look like SPAM. Many times there will be unique codes on links in SPAM messages that identify your specify e-mail address as being valid. If you identify your e-mail address as being "in-use" to a spammer, you can certainly expect to see more SPAM soon.

  5. DON'T open unknown attachments in messages

    Even from people you know. If you aren't expecting a message with an attachment, ask the sender before opening. A lot of our cusomers have had problems with virus senders claiming to be from Sasquatch and sending attachments. If you open attachments, you run the risk of virus infection and a really wacked-out computer.

  6. When all else fails: Ask us to tune up the server-side SPAM filtering on your e-mail

    We don't recommend doing this unless you've tried everything else without success. There is a small chance that legitimate messages will be automatically and permanently deleted if you pull the stops out on our built-in SPAM filter. It will certainly cut back on the amount of spam your receive, though.

  7. Last resort: Use a third-party SPAM filtering solution

    There are free third-party services that can intelligently filter spam from your account. They require a bit of technical know-how to set up (we can help you, if need be). We recommend Si20, the free Spam Interceptor, although Enigma Real Mail is also good. Here's how a third-party filter works:
    • You provide the third-party filter with your Sasquatch account login information
    • Third-party filter downloads your mail to their servers and filters spam with industrial-strength spam filtering algorithms
    • You tweak your e-mail program to download mail from third-party's server and get mail from them, minus the spam
    • You can check the messages that got filtered out by logging into third-party's web mail system
    Third-party solutions usually work the best, but they're a pain in the behind to set up and can have limitations on the free accounts, such as how many times per hour you can download your e-mail. Remember, if you need help setting this up, we would be glad to help out.

  8. Let us know what works and doesn't work for you

    We want your Internet experience to be as pleasant as possible, and we are committed to helping you combat SPAM. If you can think of any prevention techniques that we didn't cover, or something in this document that we could improve upon, then by all means, please let us know.