SPAM is one of those little drags of modern life that we all have to deal with daily. The degree to which it affects us depends on a lot of factors. If you’re quite technically savvy, you probably don’t get hassled all that much. If you live in a specific country, it could just be that your whole society has a problem with unsolicited messages (I’m looking at you, India.)
I can make light of it right now as I write this from Barcelona, where I’m really not all that bothered by SPAM in any of its forms. When I recently spent a short period back in the UK, I was very worried by the sheer intensity of cold-calls that my parents were receiving. Luckily they are both fully combos mentis, but they are not getting any younger, and the world in which they live now is very different to the one in which they were brought up and fully engaged during their working lives.
I’m going to be taking care of my parents’ issues with cold calls so that they can get a little bit more peace each night, and here are a few tips for those people out there who might be suffering from some of the other forms of annoying SPAM overload.
As a long-term Gmail user, I personally don’t suffer all too much from SPAM emails reaching my Inbox, but Perhaps the easiest solution for those suffering from poor service from an email provider that doesn’t filter out SPAM is for you to switch to Gmail. It is easy enough to do, but it is also inconvenient as you will have to let all of your real contacts know that you have changed addresses.
The best way to avoid getting into the situation when you are being bombarded with SPAM in the first place is to make sure that you don’t casually post your email online anywhere. Don’t have it visible on your social media channels, and be very wary of handing it over willy-nilly to any of the sites you visit on-line.
A simple trick that people often slip up on is when they fail to click correctly, or un-click, the boxes on websites that specifically ask you whether or not you want to receive marketing information from the site you are signing up for and their commercial partners. If you fail to pay proper attention to these little boxes, you are openly inviting SPAM.
When I was working in the UK, there was a period when I would receive automated calls daily from companies trying to convince me that I was owed money thanks to being mis-sold PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) by the bank. This was a real hassle, but I often gave my mobile number out on my business card, which was just a necessary part of my job. I wanted it to stop, but I didn’t have the time to do anything about it.
If I had had the time, I should have (TPS) in the UK. This is a free service that places you on a list that means UK based companies cannot call your number. Unfortunately, this will not help if you are getting calls from companies based outside of the UK.
I had a serious problem with this when I spent an extended period in India this year. I was only there for five months, so I just tried to live with it, but it would be a major headache to deal with on an indefinite basis.
Some smartphones will allow you to block certain numbers, making this the easiest option if one specific number is constantly hassling you. If the messages are coming from various sources, you could perhaps get in contact with your service provider.
It would help if you were particularly wary of those messages that claim you can stop further messages by replying to the initial message. If the message is from a reputable company, you should be okay to go ahead and reply. However, if the message comes from a real spammer, you definitely do not want to reply, as doing so will let them know that your number is active, and you will get an avalanche of new calls and messages.
In my experience, social media is the place where you are least likely to suffer from getting hit with SPAM. Okay, Facebook runs ads on the page’s side that can be a pain, but they are pretty innocuous. Spammers will also sometimes tag me on Instagram, but this doesn’t happen all that often either.
The biggest problem I have found on social media is the You know, those who don’t get that you aren’t all interested in seeing their every meal or being invited to every event they are organizing or going to themselves.
In most cases, you can unfollow people without un-friending them by clicking on one of their posts. This can be a bit awkward if they are also one of your friends in real life and seem perplexed when you’re not all that up-to-date with everything they’ve been sharing online, but that’s something you’ll have to deal with.
For those who are spamming you with invites after the invite, you may need to take the next step and put them on your block list. Just pay a visit to your Privacy Settings to quieten these guys down!