Spammers and scammers appreciate the value of their email distribution lists. Culled from a variety of sources including contest entries, request for information forms, business databases, and suppliers that specialize in consumer data warehousing, these lists represent the life’s blood of their income. Once these data hoarders acquire a person’s contact information, they’ll never let go. The best way to take away their power is to give them information with little or no value.
Most people in modern society have an email address, but nobody is limited to just one. You have the power to have two, three or more to suit your purposes. There are many free sources of email accounts, and it’s up to each person to identify the host that suits their purposes. Why have more than one account? Let’s run through a scenario where a second email address would come in handy.
You’re walking along inside a mall enjoying the sights and sounds of the atmosphere when you see a vehicle parked in the middle of the main floor. Curiously, you step forward, inspecting the brand new sedan when you see a number of kiosks surrounding it that encourage passersby to fill out a form for a chance to win the vehicle.
The vehicle is an expensive luxury model that catches your eye, and you wouldn’t mind replacing your current set of wheels for the new toy. You begin filling out the form, adding your name, PO Box address, pre-paid cell phone number, and come across the section asking for your email address. All requested information is required for entry and failure to provide any of it may invalidate your entry. If you enter your only email address, the company is likely to spam your account with ads and distribute your information to others who will do the same. What do you do?
Many spam filters are good, but not infallible. Some spam will still find its way to your account. The more you provide your email address to outside sources, the greater the chance spam will flood your account. A good way to avoid that is to create at least two accounts – one for personal correspondence and one for everything else. Provide the email for personal correspondence to friends and family, leaving the second email address as a catch-all for everything else.
A better option would be to have at least three accounts, one for friends and family, the other for business purposes, and a third catch-all for everyone else. Enter the catch-all email address into the contest entry form and check the account when the winner of the drawing is expected to be notified. Ignore the account all other times whenever you’re not expecting something to arrive.
While you may be required to provide personal information to gain certain opportunities, that information doesn’t have to be your only point of contact. Always have a catch-all email address handy in case you feel compelled to provide it to an entity that might use it for purposes beyond the one you think.