We all know that the best way to avoid spam is staying off of the spammers lists in the first place. Find out how to use contact forms, Scr.im, image obfuscation, and best practices to keep your email address hidden from spammers while still making it available to friends, customers, and family.

Contact forms:


Rather than posting your email address on your website directly, you may require visitors to fill out a contact form to send you a message. This will hide your email address from the search engines and most spam bots while keeping it easy for visitors to contact you. 

Image Obfuscation:


Since spam bots can only search for information in clear text, you can place your email address into an image to make it harder for the spammers to get to. The downside is you will not be able to use a traditional mailto link with the image as mailto links are in clear text. 



Scr.im is a service that works like Tinyurl but for email addresses. Scr.im works by creating a special captcha page requiring users to click a matching letter combination from a list of selections. To use Scr.im just type in your email address, create a custom link and then give that link on your site or anywhere else that you want people to have your email address. 

Stay away from chain letters:


Everyone has received one of those funny stories, pictures, et cetera that apparently already have been forwarded 1000 times. Well every time the message gets forwarded, the sender sends it to all her/his friends, the To: and Cc: headers get copied along with the actual message. The message will carry more and more valid email addresses with it every time it gets forwarded. A spammer can harvest hundreds of valid email addresses from just one such chain letter. While there are automatic tools that make address extraction from such messages very easy. Ask your friends or co-workers not to include you in such forwardings and don’t mass-forward anything to others. 

Be mindful of where you give out your email address:


When signing up for services online it is best to use a junk or temporary email account. The problem is that these sites maintain large online databases of all their customers and you have no idea what the site does with this information. Furthermore if the site you use goes bankrupt or gets acquired / merged this data can be seen as an asset and sold to anyone. Ask your friends or co-workers not to include you in such forwardings and don’t mass-forward anything to others. 

Anti Virus software for your computer:

While not all spam is infected, the best practice for preventing viruses and malware infection is to never open an attachment from someone you don't know. However, it is a good idea to scan attachments even from known senders, especially if it's not a file you asked to receive or the message content is suspicious. A good anti-virus software on your computer will help protect you from infections. Be sure to choose an anti-virus software that is considered to be compatible with your mail client such as AVG Internet Security for Microsoft Outlook users.