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How to keep your email from getting lost in spam?

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CIOL Bureau
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BOULDER, SANTA CLARA: "Junk email" or "spam" accounts for a whopping 200 billion email messages each day, according to a Cisco annual Security Report.

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This means that spam makes up approximately 90 percent of all email around the world. Hackers have become more sophisticated in recent years as they create super efficient ways to hijack your computer, but at the same time, many computer security vendors have managed to stay a few steps ahead over the years and today's Internet user has become savvier when it comes to spam.

This is great for keeping computers and personal information safe, but unfortunately several casualties do exist including the email sent by legitimate email senders.

Although ISPs have devoted a tremendous amount of resources to fighting spam, it's often tough for them to tell "good email" from "spam." This means legitimate may end up floating in a sea of spam in junk folders around the world. To avoid this, legitimate email senders must distinguish their email from spam, so that it will get delivered to the receiver's inbox and not the junk folder.

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"The vast majority of any ISP's inbound-email resources must be devoted to dealing with the torrential flow of spam that bombards their mail servers day in and day out. It is their job to keep the spam out of their users' inboxes," explains Anne P. Mitchell, CEO of the Institute for Social Internet Public Policy (ISIPP), and an Internet attorney who helped author part of the country's Federal anti-spam law.

Mitchell added, "It is the email sender's job to make sure that their own legitimate email can be as easily distinguished as possible from spam, to help the ISPs to separate the wheat from the chaff - or, in this case - the legitimate email from the spam."

ISIPP offers a widely acclaimed email accreditation service, called SuretyMail, which helps email senders to ensure that their email gets delivered to the inbox instead of mistakenly sent to the junk folder.

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Senders may not feel that their email looks anything like spam, but something as slight as an exclamation point in the subject or a friendly hello to a pal could catapult an important email right into the junk folder. Understanding the types of spam and the types of keywords that scream "junk" is important, although hundreds, if not thousands of spam triggers exist.

"There are several types of spam, some of it hyping a product or service, and some of it much more sinister, such as the kind of spam that is attempting identity theft by getting you to log into a fake site that is a clone of a service such as PayPal or eBay, and reveal your password and other personal information. Unfortunately, the reason that spamming is so wide-spread is because it works. People fall for the fake clone sites, and yes, people actually do buy things advertised in spam," says Mitchell.

According to ISIPP, in addition to using the recipients name in the subject line, examples of words or phrases that can change your email content from royal to royal pain include: "Secrets," "Learn the Secret," "Money-Back Guarantee," "Click Here," "Response Required," "Risk Free," "Be Amazed," and "Here is your new account information." Anything that offers of a full refund, includes instructions on how to stop receiving offers, and claims compliance with anti-spam laws will also end up in the recipient's junk folder.

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