Tips for Easy Living

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How to reduce junk mail finding its way into your inbox

Email correspondence has completely changed the way people communicate on a daily basis. Handwritten letters have become a relic of the past, as most people now take to their keyboards or touchscreens to tap out messages and send them instantaneously. In addition to general correspondence, email has become a method for businesses to contact prospective consumers. Once a store or service provider has customers' email addresses, that business now has a direct avenue by which to reach potential customers.

While providing businesses with your email address has its benefits, most notably making it easier for consumers to learn about upcoming sales or even special discounts offered only to email subscribers, offering such information also makes men and women susceptible to junk email. Few things can be more annoying than an inbox overrun with junk mail. Some retailers sell subscribers' email addresses to other businesses, so consumers who initially only provide their email address to a specific retailer may soon find themselves inundated with emails from a bevy of retailers.

In addition to being a nuisance, junk mail also can make a person who isn't careful more susceptible to identity theft.

Eliminating junk mail may be impossible, but there are ways to cut back on all of that unwanted content in your inbox.

* Filter your messages. Run a search in your inbox for the word "unsubscribe." Doing so should narrow down all of the messages that have instructions to unsubscribe from notifications. Go message by message, and follow the links provided to remove your email address from mailing lists. Although this can be a time-consuming process, it can substantially cut back on the amount of junk mail in your inbox.

* Create a designated junk mail account. Who says you have to have just one email account? Establish one account that you will use for correspondence between friends, family members and other important people while reserving another account to use when stores and businesses request contact information. This way all of the spam will funnel into one account and won't interfere with the account you use to correspond with friends and family.

* Avoid publicizing your email address. Junk mailers have robot programs that can grab email addresses from a websites and enter them into their systems. If you manage a website, do not list your email address among the contact information. Use a secure "contact us" form or replace the email address with a QR code.

* Don't conduct business with a junk mailer. Despite how annoying they can be, unsolicited emails are effective. A certain number of people will follow a link within a junk mail advertisement and ultimately conduct business with that company. Make it a point not to purchase a product or service from a company that sent you an unsolicited email.

* Utilize email filters. Many email programs enable users to filter their messages and automatically redirect them to specific folders so they never reach a user's primary inbox. Use these filters and tags to keep unwanted junk mail out of your inbox and in a folder where all unwanted messages can be deleted in a single click.

* Beware of unsolicited messages on mobile phones. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to ignore unwanted marketing text messages. Not only does this alert a junk mailer that a number is a working number, but also it opens the door for more messages. Depending on your data plan, this can end up costing you a substantial amount of money in overage charges. If unwanted texts are getting out of hand, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Junk mail can be a nuisance that interferes with business and personal communications. But there are several ways men and women can make themselves less susceptible to these unwanted daily emails.